Malawi Congress Party

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Malawi Congress Party
Abbreviation MCP
President Lazarus Chakwera
Spokesperson Jessie Kabwila
Founder Orton Chirwa
Aleke Banda
Founded 1959
Preceded by Nyasaland African Congress
Youth wing Malawi Young Pioneers (disbanded)
Ideology Ubuntu,
Democratic socialism[citation needed]
Political position Left-wing[citation needed]
Colors Black, Red and Green
National Assembly
48 / 193
0 / 5
Pan-African Parliament
0 / 5
Election symbol
Politics of Malawi
Political parties

The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) is a political party in Malawi. It was formed as a successor party to the banned Nyasaland African Congress when the country, then known as Nyasaland, was under British rule. The MCP, under Hastings Banda, presided over Malawian independence in 1964, and became dominant as Malawi became a single-party state. In 1997, the MCP lost political dominance, but was not disbanded. At the 2009 elections, it received approximately 30% of the national vote.


The Malawi Congress Party was the successor to the Nyasaland African Congress (NAC) party, which was banned in 1959. The MCP was founded in 1959 by Orton Chirwa, Nyasaland's first African barrister soon after his release from Gwelo prison, and other NAC leaders including Aleke Banda, S. Kamwendo in agreement with Dr H K Banda who remained in prison. The purpose for dashing the original NAC to forming MCP was need for free operation since NAC was a banned party by that time.

Orton Chirwa became the first MCP president, and later was succeeded by Hastings Kamuzu Banda after he was released from Gwelo Prison. Hastings Banda continued to hold the Presidency until his death in 1997.

In the 1961 Nyasaland elections, MCP won all the seats in the legislature and later led Nyasaland to independence as Malawi in 1964. When Malawi became a republic in 1966, the MCP was formally declared to be the only legal party. All adult citizens were required to be party members. They had to carry "party cards" in their wallets at all times. The MCP lost its monopoly on power in a 1993 referendum, and was roundly defeated in the country's first free elections the next year.

Unlike other former single parties in Africa, the MCP remains a major force in Malawi. It is strongest in the central region, populated by ethnic Chewa and Nyanja people.

At the May 2009 elections its candidate for president, John Tembo (a longtime confidant of Banda), won 30.7% of the vote and the party won 26 out of 193 seats.


MCP members[edit]

See also[edit]