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The Rebellion of Enlisted Personnel and Democratization in Malawi
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA
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This thesis analyzes the factors that led to the insubordination of enlisted personnel of the Malawi Defense Force MDF, which happened during the transition to democracy in December 1993. The regular enlisted members of the MDF engaged in an armed conflict with the armed wing of the ruling Malawi Congress Party MCP-Malawi Young Pioneers MYP. The MYP was then completely disarmed and disbanded in an operation called Operation Bwezani, which was started by the enlisted personnel without proper orders from the officers corps or the general commanding the MDF. The author argues that competition of military resources, corruption among generals, officers promotion goals, poorly defined roles of the MYP, and little incentive among senior military leadership to confront the president to push for free and fair democratic elections were the main factors that led to the rebellion of the enlisted personnel. The moment in which military personnel turned on Malawis authoritarian government by disbanding the MYP, helps us to predict future cases in which the armed forces may withdraw their support from a nondemocratic regime, thereby triggering instability and potentially space for the installation of democracy.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE