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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Constitutional provisions and executive succession: Malawi's 2012 transition in comparative perspective
Authors:Dionne, Kim Yi
Dulani, Boniface
Periodical:African Affairs: The Journal of the Royal African Society (ISSN 1468-2621)
Geographic terms:Africa
heads of State
constitutional law
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/23357150
Abstract:Four African leaders died in 2012. This article explores the constellation of factors that together led to a constitutional succession after President Bingu wa Mutharika's death in Malawi, despite plotting by the late President's allies to circumvent the constitution and install their own candidate over Vice-President Joyce Banda. The authors present data on executive deaths in office since 1961 and executive transfers of power during the period 2010-2012 in order to situate the Malawi transition within the broader African context. They especially draw on comparisons to executive successions that followed the death-in-office of presidents in Nigeria (2010) and Zambia (2008). They assert from these cases that constitutional provisions on executive succession are necessary in precipitating peaceful transitions, but also argue that periods of delay indicate that such provisions are insufficient on their own. They contend that presidential death is more likely to lead to transition than presidential incapacity. The Malawian case in particular illustrates how a constitutional transition requires support from key actors, particularly the Cabinet, military leaders, judiciary, civil society, and the independent media. Public rejection of military or authoritarian rule, and the growing precedent for constitutional succession in Africa, are additional drivers of peaceful transitions. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]