Malawi Congress Party
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|Preceded by||Nyasaland African Congress|
|Youth wing||Malawi Young Pioneers (disbanded)|
|International affiliation||Centrist Democrat International|
|Colors||Black, Red and Green|
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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 from 1966 to 1993 was the only legal party in the country. It has continued to be a major force in the country since losing power. 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. Banda continued to hold the Presidency until his death in 1997.
In the 1961 Nyasaland elections, the 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. For the next 27 years, the government and the MCP were effectively one. 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.
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