In January 96, Malawi, together with 11 other countries in southern Africa, started negotiations with regard to. the creation of a free trade area. At the same time, the government announced that it repealed a number of laws affecting foreign investment in rural areas.
In 1997, the United States began the training of Malawi soldiers. the formation of an African «peace force».
The drought that affected large African regions almost completely wiped out the River Shire, one of the country’s most important waterways. Foreign experts recommended reducing the use of water in agriculture and instead importing foreign food as well as continuously industrializing the economy. In 1998, it was estimated that the underground water reserves in the region would need 1400 years to regain the former level.
According to Countryaah, the capital of Malawi is Lilongwe. Former Minister of Public Works Abdul Pillane was formally charged with corruption in January 1999 after it was determined he had received money from a South African construction company. In February, it was determined that the cholera epidemic that had hit 15,000 people had cost 500 lives in 1998-99. In April, President Muluzi opened the country’s first TV station.
After an election campaign and an election plagued by irregularities, President Muluzi was re-elected, while his party gained 47.3% of the vote, giving 93 of Parliament’s 192 seats. In December, MPs complained to the finance minister about their wages, which they felt were too low. In February 2000, the president asked the entire government to resign. A number of the ministers, including Finance Minister Cassim Chilumpha, were characterized by unreliable countries in the West as unreliable.
After Muluzi accused the donor countries of intervening in the country’s domestic policy, in January 2002 Denmark ceased its entire assistance program to the country. It had a volume of DKK 87 million. US $ for the period 2000-04. The interruption meant that new development and environmental programs could not be initiated.
In 2002, the country was declared in a state of disaster due to the high number of deaths due to food shortages. The government was accused of selling the country’s grain to Kenya and for now forcing the population to eat immature grain. The famine appeared to extend into the following year, and the distribution of food was hampered by the poor constitution of the roads and railways. 70% of the population was threatened by hunger and the elderly and children were the most vulnerable.
In August 2003, the opposition party formed the Alliance for Democracy with defunct MPs, and in early 2004, Vice President Justin Malewezi resigned and joined the opposition in preparation for the presidential election.
In the May 2004 elections, Bingu wa Mutharika of the UDF was elected president with 36% of the vote. His main opponent, John Tembo of the Malawi Congress Party, gained 27% but in return won most seats in parliament. In third place, Gwanda Chakuamba followed with 26%. He accused the Supreme Electoral Commission of delaying the election result and of entering into an agreement with the UDF to manipulate the result. That same month, his party urged the Supreme Court to cancel the result and print re-election as a result of the manipulation and other serious irregularities. EU observers agreed on the need for transparency in the counting of votes, and further stated that the election was free but not fair. Charles Mhango, a lawyer for Chakuamba’s party, stated that the irregularities would be the same during a countdown of votes. He further stated that a number of polling stations had not yet filed their ballot when the Election Commission announced the final result.
At least 4 people were killed during the protests following the announcement of Bingu wa Mutharika’s victory.
The Malawi Congress Party – the country’s second largest opposition party – filed an official legal complaint against the election results, demanding a review of the entire electoral process. The party’s deputy chairman, Nicholas Dausi, declared that the real winner of the election was John Tembo. In the end, though, Mutharika was declared victorious. International observers criticized the circumstances of the election. The government subsequently declared that it would distribute retroviral brake medication to victims of HIV/AIDS.