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Chikosa Silungwe

I am a member of the Malawi Bar. I was admitted to the Bar on 6 November, 1998. I have worked in Malawi's private practice; and Malawi's public service with the Law Commission, a public body established by the Constitution of Malawi. At the Law Commission, I have been involved in law reform projects on the Malawi's Constitution; and also on corruption, criminal procedure, gender equality, land, the legal profession, marriage, policing, public entertainment, and wills and inheritance. My research interests are constitutional law and theory in Africa, (democratic) governance, land reform in Africa and legal theory.

Between January, 2007 and December, 2009, I pursued a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Law in the Law School. In January, 2010, I submitted to the University a thesis entitled The Land Question in Malawi:Law, Responsibilization and the State. I had a viva voce examination on Good Friday, 2 April, 2010. The panel of examiners comprising Ambreena Manji of Keele Law School and Sam Adelman of this Law School recommended that I should be awarded a doctoral degree without corrections to the thesis. On 7 June, 2010, the University's Steering Committee, acting on behalf of the University's Senate, formally endorsed the decision of the examiners. I have since graduated during the University's Summer 2010 Degree Congregation.

The Land Question in Malawi argues that the land question in the country can be resolved through the emergence of a responsibilized State under people-based responsibilization. People-based responsibilization is a holistic, bottom-up approach to tackling asymmetrical access to, and ownership of, land in the country. This, it is suggested, must entail proactive, people-based action for a triangulated approach to land reform involving law, macroeconomic frameworks like poverty reduction strategies, and the adherence to the terms of governing under the Constitution.

The broad context of The Land Question in Malawi is that since the mid-1990s, the country has joined the 'new wave' of land reform. The new wave takes place amidst the re-conceptualization of 'development' in development discourse through a supposedly de-centred focus on economic growth. The new donor consensus is that land reform must be more human-centred and foster pro-poor economic growth. In this environment, Malawi adopted the National Land Policy in 2002. The Policy is meant to guide the country's land reform and contribute to sustained economic growth.

The new wave is problematic since it perpetuates land reform approaches of the law and development movement whereby land reform becomes land law reform. The 'customary' space is subjected to a process of formalization and privatization of the right to property in land ostensibly to boost economic growth. This approach is narrow and undermines the resolution of a land question. Using the Foucauldian 'idea' of governmentality, The Land Question in Malawi examines situations and processes that have entrenched the land question in Malawi. There is a multiverse of parochial interests of the State, the Bretton Woods Institutions, 'commercial' farmers, and the land deprived. The narrow focus on land law reform demonstrates the dominance of market as value and entrenches the land question in the country.

Looking back, the three years or so in the development of The Land Question in Malawi were full of contentment and despair in equal measure. I owe a huge debt to various professori, family and friends for their positive input towards my success. They have been my proverbial giants and I eagerly stood on their shoulders. In the academy, these giants include my supervisors Abdul Paliwala and George Meszaros; and also Upendra Baxi, Peter Fitzpatrick, Garton Kamchedzera, Fidelis Edge Kanyongolo, Ngeyi Ruth Kanyongolo, Boaventura de Sousa Santos and Andrew Trevor Williams.

Everyone in the Sindano Walyapaili Silungwe and the Mwakipunda Mwaungulu clans respectively has had a corporeal and mental influence on my worldview. I acknowledge, in a special way, the support from my mother, Matilda Audrey Silungwe (nee Mwaungulu) and my sisters Towela Golda Nyika (nee Silungwe), Ruth Walusungu Nanthambwe (nee Silungwe), and Limbani Silungwe; my uncle Geoffrey S. Mwaungulu, Sr. (particularly during the 'turbulence' in 2007); Allan Joseph Chintedza, for the deep and frank conversations; and Henry and Milika Matiti, and Ethel and Patani Mhone for embracing me like a son.

To the following kings: we were, are and will always be kings: Boniface Banda, Matthews Kaninga Banda, Tamanda Llipwithi Chidzanja, Zangaphee Chimombo, Allan Joseph Chintedza, Ishmael Stan Chioko, the late Alfred Dawa, Ezra Dzoole, Kalenga Jere, Harold Jiya, David Chikumbutso Masoatengenji Kadzamira, Sylvester Augustino Kalembera, Dan Kuwali, Titus Neverson Kuweruza, Pempho Likongwe, Dingiswayo Tanangachi Kanyolokera Madise, Kenan Tilombe Manda, Jarvis Matiya, the late Bernard Perez Mhango, Paul Montfort Mphwiyo, Ernest Chimwemwe Mtawali, Mtchuka George Mwale, Bernard Mkweche Winston Ndau, Cosby Ungweru Nkwazi, Oche Onazi, Yaperekamizimu 'Yappy' Silungwe, Mateyu Sisya, Joshua Antonio Varela and Patrick Westenhoff.

I also thank the following for the worthwhile camaraderie: Robert Hansell, Edgar 'Lyan Louie' Hassan, Michael Kachere, Latif Mahomed, Walter Vuyo Miseleni, Watipaso Mkandawire, Herbert Mukasa and Papa Sow.

Finally, I duly acknowledge the research funding from The University of Warwick.

 

 

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C dot M dot Silungwe at warwick dot ac dot uk

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