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TITLE:  MALAWI HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                             
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994
AUTHOR:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

                         MALAWI


The year 1993 gave promise of ending one-man, one-party rule in 
Malawi.  In October 1992, Malawi's leader since independence, 
the Life President, Dr. H. Kamuzu Banda, called for a 
referendum to determine whether or not Malawi would continue as 
a one-party state.  On June 14, 1993, Malawians voted by a 
margin of two to one in favor of a multiparty system.  Two days 
later Banda publicly accepted the results and acknowledged the 
need for change.

In late 1993, seven political parties were legally registered 
and operating openly, and multiparty elections were scheduled 
for May 17, 1994.  Dialog between the opposition and the ruling 
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) resulted in the establishment of a 
National Consultative Council (NCC) and a National Executive 
Committee (NEC), both with representatives from all registered 
parties, to oversee changes in the Constitution, laws, 
constituency boundaries, and election rules and procedures.  In 
November, Parliament passed bills eliminating from the 
Constitution single-party clauses (such as Banda's Life 
Presidency), appending a bill of rights, establishing a 
multiparty electoral law, and repealing detention-without-trial 
provisions of the Public Security Act, as well as the 
Forfeiture Act and Malawi's restrictive dress code.  Late in 
the year President Banda underwent brain surgery.  During this 
period, the MCP established a Presidential Council to rule in 
his place.  The Council dissolved in early December when 
doctors pronounced Banda fit to resume presidential duties.  As 
1993 came to an end, President Banda's nominally parliamentary, 
single-party Government was in a caretaker status.

Internal security is the responsibility of the National 
Police.  An increasingly assertive populace, the growing 
independence of the judiciary, and an active opposition press, 
in addition to international pressure and the predisposition of 
some senior government officials, influenced the police force 
to curtail the worst of its abuses against the Banda 
Government's political opponents.  The police, however, still 
employed physical force in dealing with suspected criminals 
and, in some cases, deprived them of their legal rights (see 
Section 1.f.).  There were no reports of police being tried and 
punished in the courts for such abuse, but credible reports 
indicated that prison officials were disciplined, and in some 
instances fired, for such behavior.


During the referendum campaign, the MCP's Youth League and the 
paramilitary Malawi Young Pioneers (MYP) intimidated and 
harassed multiparty advocates.  Intimidation by the Youth 
League and the MYP diminished sharply after the referendum and 
disappeared entirely in December when the army moved to disarm 
the MYP.  The initial stages of disarmament were violent; over 
20 people were killed, and extensive property damage was done 
to MYP and MCP facilities.  Four soldiers also were killed.  
The army quickly enlisted the cooperation of the police to 
address civilian aspects of the disarmament operation.

Small, densely populated, and landlocked, Malawi has a 
predominantly agricultural economy.  Nearly 90 percent of the 
population derives its income from farming.  The main cash 
crops are tobacco--Malawi's most important foreign exchange 
earner--tea, coffee, and sugar.  In 1993 the economy was rocked 
by severe shortages of foreign exchange, high inflation, and 
scarcity of critical agricultural and industrial inputs.  
Shrinking real wages led to wildcat strikes throughout the 
country, which exacerbated declines in productivity.

The gradual improvement in Malawi's dismal human rights record 
evident in 1992 accelerated in the first half of 1993 as 
campaigning commenced for the referendum.  "Pressure groups" 
(i.e., parties in waiting) began to hold public rallies, 
attracting crowds often in excess of 20,000 in spite of 
instances of MYP intimidation of multiparty supporters, police 
manipulation of rally permits, and arbitrary detention of 
opposition activists.  Returning exiles were in several 
instances detained on arrival.  In some cases, opposition 
leaders successfully took the Government, the MCP, and the MYP 
to court for such abuses.  Over a dozen political prisoners 
were released in 1993, including Chakufwa Chihana, Vera Chirwa, 
Gwanda Chakuamba Phiri, Fred Kazombo Mwale and three arrested 
in 1965 in connection with an armed rebellion led by former 
cabinet minister Chipembere.

Limitations on the activities of Asians remained in effect.


RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There were no political killings in Malawi in 1993.  Although 
both during and after the referendum campaign vague rumors 
circulated of suspicious deaths at the hands of the police and 
the MYP, they were difficult to substantiate, despite the 
efforts of international observers monitoring politics and 
human rights in Malawi.  In February Flora Kapito, an employee 
of the Electricity Supply Commission who had been arrested in 
May 1992 for possession of multiparty literature, died of 
injuries sustained while she was in prison.  Opposition calls 
to investigate the case of three Government ministers and a 
parliamentarian who died suspiciously in 1983, officially in an 
auto accident, yielded no response from the Government.

     b.  Disappearance

There were no reported cases of disappearance for political 
reasons in 1993.

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

Credible reports indicated that police continued to beat 
prisoners during initial detention and interrogation at police 
stations.  The police also continued to deny monitoring groups 
access to these facilities, thus calling into question the 
Government's willingness to hold police accountable for such 
abuses.

There were no specific reports of women targeted for abuse by 
the police or other Government entities in 1993.  Conditions in 
prisons improved, partly as a result of inspections and 
recommendations by the International Committee of the Red Cross 
(ICRC), but the Government acknowledged there was room for more 
improvement.  The prisons are seriously overcrowded, nutrition 
is inadequate, and sanitation poor.  The substandard conditions 
can be attributed largely to a lack of funding.  To improve the 
penal system, authorities have demoted or fired abusive 
wardens.  In November Parliament separated the prison service 
from police oversight and authority.


     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

In November Parliament passed amendments to the Preservation of 
Public Security Act (PPSA), repealing those portions which 
authorized detention without trial.  The courts had already 
been ordering the release of those detained without charge or 
trial.  By year's end, it was too early to determine how 
effective the Government would be in ensuring that police no 
longer arrested people without bringing charges against them or 
referring their cases to the courts.

The early stages of the referendum campaign were marred by the 
arbitrary arrest and detention of political opponents of the 
MCP.  United Democratic Front Chairman Bakili Muluzi was 
arrested in February on charges that he had embezzled MCP funds 
when he was the MCP's Administrative Secretary and then 
Secretary General from 1977 to 1981.  He was released on bail 
on February 18.  The court dismissed the case against Muluzi 
for lack of evidence on April 1, but police rearrested him the 
same evening indicating that they would file new charges for 
the same offense.  He was released the next day.  Reverend 
Peter Kaleso was arrested and briefly detained early in the 
year for purportedly insulting the Life President while 
speaking at a public rally.  A magistrate judge later acquitted 
Kaleso.  In January Felix Mponda Phiri, editor of the New 
Express, was detained on returning to Malawi with the first 
edition of the paper, held for 17 days, and released without 
being charged.

The number of new cases of arbitrary arrest and detention of 
the Government's political opponents decreased gradually during 
the referendum campaign and all but ceased thereafter.  
However, arbitrary arrests and detentions of a less vocal 
group, suspected criminals, did not decrease perceptibly.

Long-term prisoner Vera Chirwa was released in January.  Her 
husband Orton died in prison in 1992.  Both were serving life 
sentences on charges, widely considered spurious, of plotting 
to overthrow the Government and assassinate the Life 
President.  Chakufwa Chihana, arrested in April 1992 and 
sentenced in December of the same year on sedition charges, was 
released on June 12, 1993.  The Supreme Court of Appeals 
reduced his original concurrent sentences of 18 and 24 months 
to 9 months in March 1993, and he received the standard 3 
months off for good behavior.  In October, to mark President 
Banda's return from surgery in South Africa, the Government 
declared amnesty for 229 prisoners.  These included people who 
were convicted of political crimes, had served long sentences, 
were ill, or had demonstrated good behavior.  The remaining 
prisoners considered that the process of determining 
eligibility for amnesty was a random one and staged a riot, 
during which two prisoners died.

Although the Banda Government never practiced forced exile as a 
means of political control, a sizable number of Malawians left 
the country over the years for political reasons.  When these 
voluntary exiles started to return to Malawi to participate in 
activities prior to the referendum, police detained most and 
held them without charge for periods ranging from 24 hours to 
several months.

In a few cases, police continued to hold detainees despite 
court release orders.  Fred Kazombo Mwale, the President's 
nephew, and two of his wives had been held without charge on a 
presidential detention order since 1991.  A High Court justice 
ordered their release in early 1993, but police and prison 
officials did not comply with this order.  Mwale and his wives 
were finally released in July as national and international 
attention on their case intensified.

Edward Jika, of the Zambia-based United Front for Multiparty 
Democracy, was detained in early 1993 when he entered Malawi.  
A High Court justice ordered police and prison officials to 
present him in court, which they failed to do.  As a result, 
the justice ordered his release.  Police and prison officials 
ignored this order also until shortly after the referendum, 
when they released him.

Following the referendum, President Banda declared a general 
amnesty for all exiles.  Most remaining political detainees 
were released, and exiles began to return to Malawi without 
incident.  In November Parliament created a returnees' 
committee to assist the exiles in rejoining the community.  The 
committee estimated that approximately 500 Malawians returned 
by year's end.

Incommunicado detention continues, but to a lesser degree.  
Police continued sporadically to restrict access to prisoners.  
Chakufwa Chihana's wife and his lawyer were at times denied the 
right to visit him.  The lawyer of returning exile Edward Jika 
was denied access to his client.  In July the High Court, 
citing the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ruled 
that there was no legal basis for restricting the access of 
lawyers to their imprisoned clients.  Subsequently, defense 
lawyers could gain access to clients.

Pretrial detainees made up a high proportion of the prison 
population.  Poor record keeping and the reluctance of the 
police force to account for its activities precluded an 
accurate estimate of numbers of pretrial detainees.  According 
to sources in the legal community, however, there are probably 
several hundred.  The Government has acknowledged the problem 
and attempted to address it by setting aside specific time for 
court personnel to review and process pretrial cases.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

Malawi has both traditional and modern court systems.  In the 
past, only the regional and national traditional courts tried 
capital offenses.  The Attorney General, however, announced the 
suspension of these courts in October, citing the NCC's 
intention to review the appropriate role of the traditional 
court system.  The trend toward moving serious criminal and 
political cases from traditional to modern courts continued in 
1993.  In most cases, only the modern courts permit legal 
counsel.  The right of appeal exists in both systems.  By law, 
defendants and their attorneys are guaranteed access to 
government-held evidence.  In practice, they often do not see 
the evidence against them until they are in court.

The modern court system consists of magistrate courts and the 
High Court, whose members sit on a Supreme Court of Appeal when 
the need arises.  The President appoints the Chief Justice and, 
after consultation with the Judicial Service Commission, other 
court justices.  According to constitutional amendments passed 
in November, the President must have parliamentary approval 
before removing a judge for incompetence or misbehavior.

Traditional court justices, including justices of the National 
Traditional Appeal Court, are appointed directly by the 
President.  A typical traditional court panel consists of three 
traditional authorities and a magistrate judge.  Police 
officials handle the prosecution, and defendants conduct their 
own defense.  In April a traditional court sentenced Dedza 
District MCP Chairman Mlombwa Phiri to death for shooting a 
district police commissioner, whom he was alleged to have 
suspected of multiparty leanings.  Amnesty International 
protested the sentence, noting that traditional court 
proceedings lacked the fundamental features of a fair public 
trial, such as the defendant's right to counsel.  The case was 
under appeal at the end of the year.

Through seminars, workshops, and training, some improvements 
have taken place in the functioning of the traditional court 
system.  At year's end, with the suspension of the regional and 
national traditional courts and a review of the entire system 
under way, many in the legal community, including high court 
justices, were predicting that the future of traditional courts 
was at the local level, where they would continue to hear cases 
involving small claims and customary law.

In 1993 the modern courts became increasingly bold in their 
decisions against the Government and the MCP.  In one case, the 
court awarded, and the Government paid, Machipisa Munthali the 
equivalent of over $1 million for wrongful imprisonment.  After 
completing a 6-year sentence in 1974, Munthali was immediately 
redetained without charge, trial, or explanation for an 
additional 18 years.  Another long-term 
detainee-turned-opposition politician, Aleke Banda, 
successfully sued the MCP for defamation of character based on 
remarks against him which an MCP official made at a referendum 
campaign rally.  The court awarded $75,000 in damages, which 
Banda collected with difficulty from the MCP.  In the appeal of 
Chakufwa Chihana's sedition case, the Supreme Court granted 
both the defense and the prosecution the right to employ 
British queen's counsels to make their arguments.  The Supreme 
Court stopped short of acquitting Chihana, instead reducing his 
sentence to 9 months.

The Government has not removed any judicial officials in 
response to the judiciary's newfound independence.

No known political prisoners remained at the end of 1993.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
         Correspondence

Oversight of the police was a significant weak link in the 
political transition process.  Political liberalization has 
inhibited, but not completely ended, the practice of the police 
entering houses at will, under special entry authority, to 
conduct searches for suspects or incriminating evidence.  
During the MYP disarmament operation in December, the army and 
police, with Government approval, entered many private homes in 
search of hidden MYP members and weapons.


The forced purchase of MCP membership cards stopped.  There 
were occasional threats of forced population resettlement 
during the referendum campaign, primarily to inhibit opposition 
activity in MCP strongholds.  The MCP did not carry out these 
threats, however, and after the referendum, generally shifted 
from negative to positive incentives to generate political 
support.

Parliament repealed the Decency in Dress Act in November.  The 
Act had banned slacks or skirts above the knees for women, and 
long hair and bell-bottom slacks for men.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of the Press

In the past, two government/MCP-controlled newspapers and one 
government radio station spread the Government and party line 
on all subjects.  An opposition editor and a UDF official were 
briefly detained on press-related charges in early 1993.  In 
March the Government temporarily banned two opposition 
newspapers, the UDF News and Alliance for Democracy's (AFORD's) 
Malawi Democrat.  The High Court later lifted both bans.

The unfettered, aggressive media were an explosive new force.  
By the end of 1993, more than 20 independent newspapers were in 
circulation.  In September the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation, 
based on a broadcasting code of conduct worked out between the 
Government and the opposition, canceled long-running, regularly 
scheduled pro-Banda/MCP programs.  Independent journalists 
practiced less self-censorship.  The independent press 
criticized the Government vigorously, and after the disarmament 
of the MYP in December, even MBC reporters and producers began 
broadcasting news items and press statements critical of the 
Government. 

In November Parliament changed the sedition laws to include 
"intent to incite violence" as a necessary component of 
sedition.  Parliament did not, however, repeal the law 
prohibiting journalists from publishing or communicating 
outside of Malawi any information which might tarnish the 
country's reputation.  The chief public prosecutor must 
authorize any prosecution brought under this law.


     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

A November 1993 amendment to the Constitution provides that "no 
person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his freedom of 
assembly and association," as long as he does not infringe upon 
the rights of others, endanger public order or public morality, 
impose restrictions on public officers, or act in a manner not 
"reasonably justifiable in a democratic society."

During the referendum campaign, police and other government 
officials grudgingly granted freedom of assembly.  While 
opposition groups frequently faced problems in obtaining 
permits for rallies, large political meetings were held  
although political parties other than MCP were still illegal.  
The Government tolerated the so-called pressure groups as 
forums for free political association but often harassed their 
members.

Following the referendum, Parliament legalized political 
parties.  Police then granted rally permits readily, although 
there were occasional reports of MCP officials encouraging 
local officials to change the venue of an opposition rally at 
the last minute so that the MCP might use the original location 
for its own rally.  During the labor strikes that occurred 
around the country in September, police did not arrest strikers 
for failing to obtain permits.  As in the past, individuals and 
organizations associated freely in nonpolitical activities.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

Malawi does not have a state religion.  Religious groups may 
establish places of worship and train clergy but must register 
with the Government.  An informal presidential decree that no 
new religious groups should be registered served to prevent 
legitimate religious groups from establishing a presence in 
Malawi.  In general, however, restrictions on all religious 
practices eased.  In September the Government revoked its ban 
on Jehovah's Witnesses and certain other religious groups which 
refused to join political parties or accept a ruling government 
as sovereign.

Religious groups are free to establish and maintain links with 
their churches in other countries, and the Government does not 
restrict members from traveling abroad for religious purposes.  
Malawi's sizable Muslim minority (estimated at 20 percent of 
the population) conducts its religion and builds mosques 
freely.  Foreign Islamic organizations have funded the latter 
with no governmental interference.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

Freedom of movement both within and outside the country 
improved in 1993.  President Banda declared a general amnesty 
for all exiles in June, and many returned.  Denial of passports 
on political grounds was no longer common.  Legal provisions 
restricting the movement of those convicted of political or 
criminal offenses continued in force.  Employees still had to 
request permission from their employers to travel abroad, but 
such clearance appeared to be routinely granted.  In a few 
cases, police delayed the travel of political opposition 
leaders at checkpoints between regional boundaries, but it was 
not clear whether such actions were taken on individual 
initiative or at government direction.  Formal emigration was 
neither restricted nor encouraged.  Malawi does not apply any 
particular restrictions of the movement of women or most 
minorities (including expatriates) except for Asian residents 
and citizens, who while free to travel within the country, must 
nominally reside within four urban areas (Lilongwe, Zomba, 
Mzuzu, and Blantyre/Limbe).  In Lilongwe, a planned capital, 
they must live in designated neighborhoods.  Asians are also 
banned from running any business outside the urban areas, 
although the political parties, through the NCC, tentatively 
discussed the possibility of lifting this prohibition.

Malawi continued to host Mozambican refugees, the largest 
refugee population in Africa.  The Mozambique Peace Accord, 
signed on October 4, 1992, brought an end to open hostilities 
in that country, but fears among refugees were slow to 
subside.  Because of the devastation wrought by more than 16 
years of war and southern Africa's worst drought in a century, 
refugees did not return to many areas of Mozambique.  While the 
Government of Malawi encouraged their return, it made no 
attempt to force the refugees to depart before they were ready 
and able to do so.  The Government and international 
organizations estimated that more than 300,000 Mozambican 
refugees left Malawi for their homes, with 700,000 remaining.

While this large number of refugees strained Malawi's roads, 
health care facilities, and land, fuel, water, and food 
resources, the Government continued to cooperate with the 
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other 
relief organizations to sustain the Mozambican refugees.


Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

Freedom to change their government peacefully was the 
cornerstone on which Malawians began to build a new political 
system.  At the beginning of 1993, politics was dominated by 
the President for Life and his Malawi Congress Party, the only 
legal party.  Parliament rubber stamped the President's 
decisions, and candidates in all elections were preapproved by 
the President.  After the national referendum, the opposition 
and the ruling party negotiated a transitional arrangement 
which gave the former a formal role in monitoring the existing 
Government and in crafting and introducing legislative 
reforms.  In June Parliament repealed the section of the 
Constitution which prohibited parties other than the MCP, and 
granted Malawi's political exiles general amnesty.  The 
principal mechanisms of the transition are the NCC and NEC, 
which include equal numbers of representatives from each 
registered political party.  The NCC is a deliberative body in 
which the parties are working out the constitutional, legal, 
and electoral shape of the new system.  The NEC plays a 
monitoring role, tracking the progress the Government and 
Parliament make in implementing the decisions of the NCC.

Malawi's first multiparty elections for a president and 
parliament are to be held on May 17, 1994.  As in past 
single-party elections and the referendum, suffrage is to be 
universal among adult citizens, without regard to gender or 
tribal (indigenous) origins.  In November Parliament passed 
laws related to the elections scheduled for May, including the 
lowering of the voting age to 18 years.

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

In the past, the Government did not allow either domestic or 
international organizations to investigate alleged human rights 
abuses.  This situation began to change in 1992 when the 
Government invited the ICRC to inspect Malawi's prisons.  A 
two-person delegation from Amnesty International visited Malawi 
for 2 weeks in November and met with government officials, the 
police, opposition leaders, and others.  A few domestic human 
rights groups formed in 1993, but at year's end had not 
developed methods for monitoring the country's human rights 
situation.


The Government continued to refuse to investigate, despite 
opposition calls for a commission of inquiry, the 1983 deaths 
of three government ministers and a parliamentarian.  At the 
time of the deaths, the Government claimed the four had died 
accidentally in an automobile wreck.  For years, however, 
widespread rumors alleged that the accident had been staged and 
that the men had been shot for political reasons on the orders 
of senior government officials.  In the fall of 1993, several 
independent newspapers conducted and reported investigations 
which they claimed produced evidence implicating the Government 
in these deaths.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

     Women

Women and men above the age of 20 have equal legal status and 
are supposed to receive equal pay for equal work.  In practice, 
however, women do not have opportunities equal to those of 
men.  Historically, women have been unable to complete even a 
primary education and are therefore at a serious disadvantage 
in the job market.  Women constitute 70 percent of all 
full-time farmers.  Thirty percent of these women are heads of 
household.  The Government included in its 1993 development 
policy a specific plan of action for women.  The plan proposes 
that each ministry designate an officer to deal with issues 
concerning women and women's affairs.  Most ministries have 
done so and are trying to allocate funds to support women's 
programs in their respective ministries.  The Government 
reserves 33 percent of the places in secondary school for 
girls.  In 1993, for the first time, all of these spaces were 
filled.  However, women may not attend school at any level if 
they become pregnant.  University women may return to their 
studies 6 months after the birth of a child.  The Government 
cooperated closely with international donors seeking to enhance 
educational opportunities for females, especially at the 
primary school level.

Both the Government and nongovernmental organizations have 
sponsored programs to support better general education for 
women and girls.  The National Commission on Women disseminates 
information on women's rights.  Women across the country began 
to form groups advocating empowerment of women in various 
fields.  The "Women's Voice" group, for example, encourages 
women to participate in the political process.


Malawi society does not practice systematic violence against 
women.  However, spousal abuse is common, although it is not 
discussed openly by women.  Occasionally the press reports 
instances of sexual abuse and harassment of female students by 
their male teachers.  There are no apparent efforts by the 
Ministry of Education to address this problem.

     Children

The Government does not spend a high percentage of its budget 
on children's health and welfare.  Despite women's access to 
maternal health services and extension programs, infant 
mortality remains the 10th highest in the world.  Very few 
orphanages exist, and the Government is only beginning to 
address the necessity of intervening on behalf of children as 
the AIDS epidemic destroys traditional extended family and 
village care.  There is no pattern of societal abuse against 
children, though a few small ethnic groups continue to practice 
female genital mutilation.

     National/Racial/Ethnic/Minorities

Citizens of the northern region occasionally experience 
discrimination in employment outside that region.  Most 
Malawians of African heritage are members of indigenous tribes, 
which are not discriminated against by the Government or 
society.  By law, Asians may not own businesses in agriculture 
or transport and strict rules govern where they may own 
property.

     People with Disabilities

The Government has not mandated accessibility to public 
buildings for the disabled, but it does help and support them.  
Self-supporting businesses, run by and for the disabled, 
operate successfully in Malawi.  Special schools and training 
centers target individuals with disabilities.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

Because most Malawian households derive their income from the 
agricultural sector, either directly from what they produce or 
through seasonal, informal employment on estates, government 
figures indicate that only 473,000 persons--approximately 14 
percent of the work force--earn formal wages.  Approximately 10 
percent of this group--fewer than 50,000 employees--are 
organized in trade unions.  Most organized workers are 
unskilled laborers on large agricultural estates.

Restrictive colonial labor legislation was subsumed largely 
intact into Malawian law.  In response to continuing bouts of 
labor unrest, however, Ministry of Labor officials announced in 
September plans to review and modify the legislation.

Malawian workers have the legal right to form and join trade 
unions.  For government workers, the right is limited to unions 
whose membership consists solely of government employees.  By 
law and in practice, all unions have been required to affiliate 
with the Trade Union Congress of Malawi (TUCM).  The TUCM, 
ostensibly independent of the Government, was until late 1993 
highly restricted in its activities.  In response to a 
prolonged period of sporadic strikes, late in the year a group 
of new TUCM leaders formed a "caretaker committee" which they 
tasked with the revitalization of the TUCM.  At the same time, 
the Ministry of Labor announced a policy of decentralized 
dialog, negotiation, and collective bargaining in labor matters 
which, inter alia, emphasized the right of workers and 
employers to organize freely into trade unions and employers' 
associations, respectively.  At year's end the effectiveness of 
these actions was uncertain.

In 1993, Malawi experienced unprecedented labor unrest.  
Starting in May, sporadic work stoppages at individual 
companies occurred in Blantyre, the country's main commercial 
city.  In August, September, and October, wildcat 
strikes--including a nationwide civil service strike--spread 
throughout the country.  The unrest was generally nonviolent, 
two exceptions being the fatal shooting of a striker at a sugar 
plantation and the destruction of a tobacco estate's medical 
clinic.  Government intervention was limited, and negotiated 
resolutions of workers' demands was the norm.

Malawi's official unions played no significant role in either 
leading or resolving the labor unrest in 1993.  In contrast, 
Joint Consultative Committees (JCC)--worker/management councils 
established within the last 2 years in numerous private 
enterprises and state-owned firms--provided forums for 
negotiations and were often successful in defusing tensions.  
Ideally, the committees were to consist of elected 
representatives of workers and management.  Often, however, 
worker representation was determined by employer appointment.


The TUCM is a member of the International Confederation of Free 
Trade Unions (ICFTU), although the ICFTU suspended the TUCM in 
December, and the Organization of African Trade Union Unity.  
It also belongs to the Southern African Trade Union 
Coordination Council (SATUCC).  The Government closed SATUCC's 
Malawi office in 1992, following the arrest of its chairman, 
Chakufwa Chihana, on charges of sedition.  In September 1993, 
SATUCC received the Government's approval to reopen its Malawi 
office and it plans to return in early 1994.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

Collective bargaining is protected by law, but its use is 
limited by stark labor market realities.  Unskilled laborers 
outnumber available positions by a ratio of eight to one.  By 
contrast, skilled workers, because of their scarcity, enjoy a 
relatively high demand for their services and, therefore, 
higher salaries.  The latter have had some success when 
negotiating employment terms, either on an individual basis or, 
as was the case with the railroad union, collectively.

Antiunion discrimination by employers is prohibited by statute, 
but enforcement of the provisions through civil suits does not 
occur.  Most individual labor disputes, usually in the form of 
a worker claiming unfair dismissal, are initially referred to 
the Ministry of Labor for resolution.  The Ministry typically 
attempts to encourage a settlement between the parties and does 
not actually adjudicate the merits of the claim.

Malawi has no export processing zones or free trade zones.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Forced labor was widely practiced during colonial times.  
Although never formally outlawed, it is not practiced except 
for prison labor.  Sentences which include a component of "hard 
labor" are routinely handed down upon conviction for criminal 
offenses.  Hard labor has, however, generally meant light 
gardening or road maintenance and can be waived for medical 
considerations.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

Malawian law defines persons under the age of 12 to be children 
and prohibits their employment.  Persons between ages 12 and 14 
are eligible to do "light" work in a family business. 
Enforcement by labor inspectors is not effective.

In the large agriculture sector, children help out at a young 
age both on family farms and on smaller estates, where laborers 
are given a quota to meet and entire families work towards 
reaching it.  Children are rarely employed in industrial jobs, 
which are few in number and pay better than does agricultural 
work.

There is no law mandating compulsory education of children.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

Malawi's legislated minimum wage varies by location.  Workers 
in the cities of Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu receive a minimum 
of $0.70 (Malawian kwacha 3.00) per day; workers in 
municipalities and townships are entitled to a minimum wage of 
$0.63 (mk 2.70) per day; rural workers are entitled to a 
minimum wage of $0.56 (mk 2.40) per day.  As most Malawians 
earn their livelihood outside the formal wage sector, they are 
not affected by the prescribed minimums.

Wages are primarily derived from the Government's prescribed 
minimum wage scales and by comparison to civil service wages.  
Industrial employees received the highest wages, with most 
private commercial firms intentionally setting their wages 
higher than those for similarly experienced government 
employees.  Agricultural workers tend to receive only the 
Government's prescribed minimum wage, with some additional 
benefits such as access to basic medical treatment and farm 
supplies on credit.  Minimal Ministry of Labor enforcement of 
the decreed wage rates, and agricultural labor practices in 
which harvesting quotas are sometimes met by entire families 
rather than by a single worker have reduced some actual 
agricultural wages below the mandated minimum.

In 1993 high inflation rates and shortages in basic consumer 
goods made the minimum wage insufficient for the provision of 
basic needs.  In practice, even those workers who received a 
wage tended to supplement their incomes through farming 
activities carried out through the extended family network.  
Effective September 1, legal minimum wages were increased by 
approximately 13 percent.  The estimated rate of inflation in 
1993 was approximately 23 percent.


The standard legal workweek in Malawi is 48 hours with 1 day of 
rest, usually Sunday.  Workers obliged to work on Sundays and 
official holidays must be paid overtime.

Occupational safety standards are set by law.  Their 
enforcement by Ministry of Labor inspectors is erratic, and 
workers--particularly those in industrial jobs--often work 
without basic safety clothing and equipment.


[end of document]

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