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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Socio-Political Engineering and Chameleon Politics in Malawi: The Period of Transition, 1992-1994
Author:Dzimbiri, Lewis B.
Periodical:African Currents
Geographic term:Malawi
Subjects:political change
political elite
Politics and Government
Abstract:The concept of sociopolitical engineering refers to the process of social and political influence whereby the influencing agent uses numerous tactics, strategies and methods to affect the thinking processes of individual citizens, or voters, and therefore their final choice. Chameleon politics refers to the tendency among political leaders to change party allegiance or political stance even at the expense of what earlier on seemed to be their guiding policy framework. Drawing on the experience of Malawi in the period of transition from dictatorship to democracy in 1992-1994, this paper illustrates the impact of sociopolitical engineering and the growing incidence of chameleon politics. It gives attention to the nature of one-party rule under the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and political repression under Kamuzu Banda; pressures for change; the referendum in 1993 and the general elections in 1994; the role of the incumbent party and the new political parties; the role of the Catholic Church and the press; and the role of Gwanda Chakuamba and Chakufwa Chihana, leaders of the formerly antagonistic MCP and the Alliance for Democracy (Aford), who formed a coalition. Once the rural masses realize that politicians change colour when it suits them and use the support of the illiterate masses for their self-aggrandizement, this may have the effect of creating a non-participant culture, political apathy, indifference, resignation, and political decay. Bibliogr., notes, ref.