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Malawi Timeline -- Part 3: Death of Banda to Present Day

A Chronology of Key Events in Malawi

By Alistair Boddy-Evans, About.com

25 November 1997 Death of ex-President Hastings Kamuzu Banda in South Africa from pneumonia. He is given a state funeral.
1997 President Bakili Muluzi commutes all death sentences (there had been a moratorium since 1992).
1999 Muluzi re-elected as president for a second five-year term. Under the constitution this will be his last term in office.
2000 World Bank to cancel 50% of Malawi's debt.
Muluzi dismisses his cabinet over charges of corruption.
2001 Six people are charged with treason over an alleged plot to overthrow the government.
2002 Food shortages (as a result of drought which is affecting much of southern Africa) in Malawi intensify the effect of a cholera epidemic. It is revealed that the Malawi government has sold much of the national grain stock shortly before the drought started. Opposition groups denounce government corruption.
Parliament ratifies that the presidency is limited to two terms only.
Opposition leader Gwanda Chakuamba is arrested, accused of forging the presidents signature on a controversial letter. He is released almost immediately.
September 2002 Rail line between Mozambique port of Nacala and Malawi is reopened after twenty years of closure. Malawi once again has access to markets on the Indian Ocean.
March 2003 Elson Bakili Muluzi gives up plans to change the constitution to allow him to stand for a third term in office.
28 June 2003 Protesting the removal of five Muslim foreign nationals suspected of working for al-Quida, an American Children's charity and several churches are attacked by rioters.
2003 UN World Food Program reports that two thirds of a million Malawians are suffering food shortages despite a bumper harvest.
2004 Economist Bingu wa Mutharika, for the United Democratic Front (UDF), elected president. He was ex-President Muluzi's chosen successor.
Government announces that it will provide free anti-retroviral drugs for AIDs sufferers.
24 May 2004 As Bingu wa Mutharika is sworn in as president, opposition activists demonstrate against them.
January 2005 Three United Democratic Front (UDF) officials charged with treason after it is revealed that they carried guns to a meeting with President Bingu wa Mutharika. They are later pardoned.
February 2005 Bingu wa Mutharika disagrees with members of the United Democratic Front (UDF) over his anti-corruption policy and he leaves the party. Mutharika forms the Democratic Progressive Party (several MPs split from the UDF to join).
Food shortages lead the UN to appeal for $88 million in aid. The World Bank promises $30 million.
June 2005 President Bingu wa Mutharika is placed under an impeachment motion by the United Democratic Front (UDF) but manages to throw off the accusations. In an angry exchange in parliament the speaker of parliament collapses and dies.
15 October 2005 President Bingu wa Mutharika declares Malawi to be a disaster area and calls for international aid for food.
November 2005 Malawi is facing severe food shortages due to failing crops and drought. The Minister for Agriculture declares five million people are in need of food aid.
April 2006 Cassim Chilumpha, the Vice President, is arrested for treason.
27 July 2006 Elson Bakili Muluzi, president of Malawi from 1994 to 2004, is arrested on charges of corruption, theft, and breach of trust -- millions of donor funds allegedly ended up in his private accounts. The charges are dropped a week later as President Bingu wa Mutharika suspends the main investigator in the case. Ishmael Wadi, the prosecutor blames Bingu wa Mutharika's interference for the withdrawal of charges.
12 October 2006 Madonna takes custody of a (motherless) one-year-old after a judge grants her an 18-month interim order to remove David Banda from the country. A controversy emerges in the international press.
26 February 2007 Vice President of Malawi pleads not guilty to charges of treason and conspiracy to murder the president.
May 2007 Having had a bumper crop of maize the previous year, Malawi exports 400,000 tons to Zimbabwe. Maize accounts for roughly 80% of crops grown in the country.
August 2007 Malawi promises 800 troops to peace keeping efforts in Sudan.
20 October 2007 Twenty six supporters of the Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) die in a road accident. The convention of Malawi's second largest opposition party is postponed as a result.
2007 Michael Sata, Zambian opposition leader, is deported after he enters Malawi for a meeting with former president Bakili Muluzi.
2008 China has reportedly offered Malawi more than $6 billion in aid. Malawi ends diplomatic relations with Taiwan as a result.
May 2008 Former security officials and opposition politicians are arrested on charges of planning to overthrow the president. President Bingu wa Mutharika accuses ex-president Baliki Muluzi of plotting against him.
16 September 2008 Malawi withdraws its recognition of SADR, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic of Western Sahara. (SADR was declared in 1976 by the Polisario Front.)
3 April 2009 A judge rejects Madonna's request to adopt a second child.
19 May 2009 Extremely close election results lead to the re-election of President Bingu wa Mutharika (against challenger John Tembo).
November 2009 Two opposition leaders are convicted of sedition and inciting violence during the recent elections.
27 December 2009 Two gay men are arrested and charged with indecency for holding an engagement ceremony the previous day. The ceremony breaches the country's anti-homosexuality laws.
January 2010 Malawi's presient, Bingu wa Matharika takes over the presidency of the African Union.
18 May 2010 Stevem Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga are convicted of unnatural acts and gross indecency. They are sentenced to 14 years in prison. After international condemnation, President Bingu wa Mutharika announces a pardon.
August 2010 President Bingu wa Mutharika introduces a new national flag. Planned local elections, which would be the first for a decade, are postponed.
October 2010 A row emerges over the operation of a new waterway between Malawi and the Mozambique coast. The first barge to take the route is impounded by Mozambican authorities.
November 2010 Government announces that the retirement age will be set between 55 and 60, this causes consternation in the nation because it is well above the national average life expectancy.
May 2011 The British High Commissioner Fergus Cochrane-Dyet is expelled after a diplomatic cable is leaked. The cable refers to President Bingu wa Mutharika as 'autocratic'.
14 July 2011 Department for International Development (DfID) UK, announces it was suspending aid to Malawi over poor governance. Malawi's opposition blames President Bingu wa Mutharika for his arrogance.
July 2011 Demonstrations erupt around Malawi, in Blantyre district in particular, against President Bingu wa Mutharika. At least 19 die and almost 300 are arrested. Britain halts aid to the country over accusations of corruption and human rights abuses.
September 2011 A three day strike is called by the opposition.
13 October 2011 President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan arrives in the country for a regional trade summit. Despite an international war crimes warrant against him, he is allowed move freely and depart after the summit.
14 October 2011 The new Zambian president, Michael Sata, is given permission to enter the country -- he was deported four years previously for attempting to meet with ex-President Bakili Muluzi.
15 October 2011 Malawi hosts six heads of state at a meeting for the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
March 2012 Riot police attempt to halt demonstrations in Blantyre and Lilongwe by human rights groups who oppose Presient Bingu wa Mutharika. John Kapito, a leading rights activist, is detained for possession of foreign currency and released on bail. The son of ex-president Bakili Muluzi is also arrested.
5 April 2012 Death of Bingu wa Mutharika at the age of 78 of a heart attack. There is tension over his successor, since the vice president, Joyce Hilda Banda, was removed form the ruling party in 2010, and Mutharika was grooming his brother to take over.
7 April 2012 Joyce Hilda Banda, for the People's Party, takes over as president as determined by the constitution.
May 2012 President Joyce Hilda Banda devalues the kwacha to satisfy the International Monetary Fund's conditions to restore funding. People respond by panic buying basic foods.
October 2012 The African Union is asked to intervene in the border dispute with Tanzania over Lake Malawi (Lake Nyasa). The real reason for the dispute is the rich oil deposits discovered under the lake. Malawi has claimed the whole of the lake since 1968.

Timeline of Malawi
Part 1: Prehistory to Independence
Part 2: Independence to Death of Banda

Malawian Leaders
John Chilembwe
Bingu wa Mutharika
Hastings Kamuzu Banda Quotes

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