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Dulani Backs Historian DD Phiri on Federalism: Malawi Too Small to be Split

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Renowned political analyst, Boniface Dulani, says Malawi is too small a country to be partitioned into autonomous states under federalism, a view earlier on shared by renowned historian and writer Dudwa Phiri, popularly known as DD Phiri in writing circles.

Dulani, a political science lecturer at University of Malawi’s Chancellor College, was contributing on Capital Radio to the ongoing heated debate pivoting around calls for Malawi to shift from the current unitary state to a federal government where, should the move succeed, several states each having its own legislature, judicial system and civil service shall be created.

“Malawi is way too small to start talking about federalism,” said Dulani suggesting that giving more powers to councils could help put the current political impasse spawned by the federalism debate to rest.

“The Decentralization Policy we have is just on paper but in reality the level and extent to which the local councils have been enabled to make decisions and formulate their own policies still leaves a lot to be desired,” he said.

Dulani further said in as far as his assessment of the matter is concerned, federalism is more of a political issue than just a cry for equitable development as its proponents would want to make everybody believe.

“What we are currently witnessing are further consequences of how we voted during the last tripartite lections where the central region went to the Malawi Congress Party and the northern region, to some extent, voted for the former ruling People’s Party.

“This voting pattern may tempt the two major opposition parties to start thinking of strengthening themselves by building around their strongholds,” said Dulani.

The political analyst also took a swipe at the leadership of the country for furthering the divisions being felt in the country by continuing to favour people from one region at the expense of the well-deserving others.

Another Chancellor College political science lecturer, Ernest Thindwa, also expressed similar sentiments on the occasion marking President Arthur Peter Mutharika’s 100 days in office following the May 20 polls.

According to Thindwa, those itching for a federal government are mostly the voice of those feeling marginalized in the way economic opportunities are being shared among the people of the country.

“The calls we are hearing for a federal system of government reflect the deep perception of being marginalized among some people in the country,” said Thindwa.

“When people feel marginalized in a country, they tend to lose faith in their government the result of which will be the thinking to have the running of their district or region in their hands,” he added.

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