Institutional challenges to viable civil-military relations in Malawi
Phiri, Mphatso Jones Boti
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Malawi is one of the few African countries that has experienced neither a military coup nor a civil war, and has remained peaceful since independence despite being under a dictatorial regime for three decades. Its military has earned international recognition for being professional; however, the country faces significant institutional challenges to democratic civil-military relations, where there is legislative oversight, and checks and balances between the executive and legislature. This thesis identifies and analyzes civil-military relations challenges currently facing Malawi, and suggests solutions that can contribute to healthy civil-military relations. Specifically, it focuses on the civilian control of the armed forces and the relationship between the president and the legislature in military oversight. The power relations between these two arms of government, as provided in the republican constitution, is described and assessed as a contributing factor to various challenges in democratic civil-military relations. I argue that the presidential powers remain the dominating factor in the country's civil-military relations and goes unchecked despite embracing democratic principles.
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