The small kingdom of Kitwara that lay out to the Malawian island – before Nyassa – had, along with other states, participated in the extraction of gold, and had been ruled by the Monomotapa in Zimbabwe. The decay of this hegemony allowed the Chawas to expand their territory, just to see it reduced as the Changamira Roots restored Zimbabwe’s rule. Around 1835 the expansion of the Zulus had pushed the ngoni-ndwandé people down to the shore of the lake. It gave rise to the subsequent 60 years of war between the ngonians and the allied peoples chewa and yaó. The country had been explored by Livingston in 1859, and in 1890 was subjected to yet another occupation attempt, this time from Portugal page. However, it was fended off following an ultimatum from the English government. The colonial power wanted to reserve the area to realize its project of uniting Egypt with South Africa through an unbroken chain of colonies. In 1891, England established via the English South African Company – created by Cecil Rhodes – a patronage in the area, later renamed Nyasaland.
According to Countryaah data, the British project was to establish a Central African Federation to include today’s Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia – based on the area’s climatic and ethnic common features. The lands consist of highlighters, savannas, dry forests and a population with Bantu background. Politically speaking, the implementation of the project would have meant that the racist white rule that was already a reality in Southern Rhodesia would be extended to the entire federation.
In the same way as the UNIP in Zambia, the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) presented an alternative to independence and presented Hastings Kamuzu Banda – a doctor trained in the United States – as “national savior”.
To avoid internal divisions, Banda’s demands were accepted to give the party greater authority. When the colony became independent in 1964, Banda’s control of the party and the country became autocratic. The President established close economic and diplomatic relations with the racist governments of South Africa, Rhodesia and the Portuguese colonial administration in Mozambique.
South Africa became the main buyer of Malawian tea and coffee, and with its investments roads, railways and the new capital were built, while South Africans managed the national carrier, development and information services, and a significant portion of the state apparatus.
Mozambique’s independence in 1975 radically changed Banda’s political panorama. Until then he had worked actively with the Portuguese on the persecution of FRELIMO. The closure of the Mozambique -Rhodesia border led to a drastic reduction in trade between the latter and Malawi, and further deprived Ian Smith of the Rhodesia government of one of its means of breaking the international blockade.
In June 1978, the first elections were held in 17 years. All candidates should belong to the MCP and undergo an English exam, which excluded 90% of the population who do not speak this language at all.
The independence of Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) in 1980 led to further changes in Malawi’s economic and diplomatic situation. Banda lost its direct communication with South Africa, to which Malawi continued to have very close economic ties. Against this background, the Lilongwe government began to approach the Frontline States and joined the SADCC collaboration – due to the rail links passing through both Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
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According to thesciencetutor, domestic politics strengthened the independence of Mozambique and Zimbabwe’s Malawi Socialist League (LESOMA). This party advocated severing economic and political ties with South Africa, ending the dictatorship and democratizing the country. The party created its own guerrilla forces in 1980. At the same time, the Movement for Malawian Freedom (MAFREMO) led by Orton Chirwa won. In 1983, both Chirwa and Attati Mpakati – the leader of LESOMA – were sentenced to death for rebellion and conspiracy. Mpakati was killed by South African agents shortly after a visit to Zimbabwe’s capital Harare. Chirwa and his wife were abducted in Zambia, where they were living in exile, and jailed in Blantyre.