Malawi. Disaster conditions were announced in February, when up to 70% of the population was under acute starvation. As in other countries in southern Africa, this year’s crop had been destroyed by floods and droughts. According to Countryaah website, national day of Malawi is every July 6. The government appealed to the rest of the world for 700,000 tonnes of food.
But the government received harsh criticism for the famine being partly self-inflicted. In 2001, the state had sold the entire corn reserve of 160,000 tonnes, and it now emerged that the majority had ended up with high politicians, who sold the corn further on the open market when food shortages pushed the price high.
Most major donors cut off all financial support for Malawi, except for purely humanitarian efforts, due to the corruption and harsh political climate. At the same time, they warned President Bakili Muluzi to further aggravate the political situation by trying to get elected to a third term. The country’s bishops joined in the criticism when, in a shepherd letter on Easter Day, they blamed the government for food shortages, corruption, political violence and the AIDS epidemic.
In July, Parliament rejected Muluzi’s attempt to amend the constitution so that he could stand for re-election when his second term expires in 2004. The president was first said to have accepted the defeat but shortly thereafter made another attempt to have the proposal adopted. He also rejected a court ruling that he violated the Constitution when he banned demonstrations against the re-election plans.