Malawi troops protect demonstrators in rare African exception
Blantyre: In a continent where armies often prop up governments, crush dissent and interfere in mainstream politics, Malawi in southern Africa has been an exception for decades.
From Sudan to Zimbabwe to Ivory Coast and Guinea-Bissau, the military has had a long track record of being state flunkeys, breaching the neutral role it is supposed to maintain.
But Malawi, which was ruled with an iron fist by founding president Kamuzu Banda since independence from Britain in 1964, broke out of that mould in 1993, a year before Banda lost in the country’s first multi-party polls.
Although allegiance to Banda was enforced at every level, the army swiftly dismantled the dictator’s renegade paramilitary wing, the Malawi Young Pioneers, and Banda lost power in 1994.
The military’s latest intervention occurred after a fraud-marred election last year that returned President Peter Mutharika to office. – AFP