Using the longue duree approach and the political economy approach, The State, Counterinsurgency, and Political Policing in Colonial and Postcolonial Malawi, 1891-1994 studies Malawi's colonial and post-colonial history. Malawi is a former British Protectorate, formerly known as the Nyasaland Protectorate. Paul Chiudza Banda analyzes the story of the rise of insurgencies in Malawi and adopts the concept of "counterinsurgency" to address the reactions of the state to those who challenged its legitimacy and authority. Banda explores the factors behind the rise of insurgency, such as land alienation, high taxation, elements of forced labor, and denial of development opportunities. Banda also examines the counterinsurgency measures used by the state, such as the use of brutal force (especially through the police and other para-military groups), the codification of strict laws, and the offer of development opportunities. Through Malawi’s history, Banda provides an analysis on why citizens challenge state authority, how the state responds, and what methods the state uses to defeat insurgencies.
Paul Chiudza Banda is assistant professor of history at Tarleton State University.
Chapter 1: Early Forms of African Resistance and State Counter-Insurgency, 1891-1914
Chapter 2: The Land, Labor, and Taxation Nexus: Whither “Civilizing Mission”
Chapter 3: The Winning of Hearts and Minds During and after the 1915 African Uprising
Chapter 4: The Politics of Development and the Development of Politics in the Late Colonial Era
Chapter 5: Post-Colonial Malawi: The Dynamics of an “Imported State”
Chapter 6: Epilogue: Banda’s Downfall – The End of the Post-Colonial State?
This thoroughly researched and detailed treatment of counterinsurgency and political policing in colonial and post-colonial Malawi makes significant contributions to knowledge that extends beyond the history of the African state. The book not only analyzes state responses to protest and resistance, but also effectively illuminates the political, economic, and social causes through focus on varied groups and individuals over a lengthy time period. The author makes a compelling case for the importance of situating the Malawi experience in global perspective, as in the broad interpretation of counterinsurgency to include the carrot as well as the stick.
Malawian historian Paul Chiudza Banda’s monograph on ‘counterinsurgency’ in Malawi spotlights the state’s use of both violent and non-violent methods in response to opposition groups and individuals during the colonial and immediate postcolonial periods. A hallmark of the book is its insider’s perspective in understanding the complex relations of power between government and subjects/citizens while control and allocation of national resources reveals the paradoxes of ‘development’ in an economically challenged African country.
In The State, Counter-Insurgency, and Political Policing in Colonial and Postcolonial Malawi, Paul Chiudza Banda records a heartfelt, passionate and extensive centennial account of the longsuffering and enduring people of Malawi. Coming as it does after the historic intervention of the High Court and Supreme Court of Malawi in a hotly contested and controversial June 2020 presidential election, this is an important and timely book that tells the inspiring story of the relentless struggle of the people against the state and beaming hope for change in the horizon. Indeed, this is a compelling and thoroughly researched account of the tension between society and the state for anyone interested in understanding contemporary Malawi.
A gripping and insightful narrative on Malawi's colonial and postcolonial history. Banda's focus on the emergence of the developmentalist state in the period after World War II and the evolution of development policies in the period after political independence makes the book an important addition to the canon on development policy in Africa, south of the Sahara. His argument that development policies served metropolitan interests and not the people of the colonies is an excellent rebuttal to new revisionist histories that attempt to rehabilitate the image of the colonizers as benevolent and altruistic missioners on the African continent.