"This report analyses the functioning of a number of institutional building blocks for democracy in Malawi and assesses how stable and functional they are. The report does not delve into issues pertaining to ‘stateness’ and ‘nationhood’ although these are important but focuses mainly on governing institutions and civil society. How far civil society is able to contribute to the effectiveness of the state is a very valid question for most African states. In spite of having elected governments there is a legitimacy crises in many countries, which leaves a wide gap between the government and the people. Chapter 1 of the report sets out the context of Malawi in terms of its social composition, economy and the background to political developments leading up to the country’s transition to democracy. Chapter 2 presents the methodology of this study, which comprises an expert opinion survey and desk research. Chapter 4 deals with the evolution of the constitution and constitutionalism, and the principles of separation of powers between the three branches of government, their performance and the challenges they face. The observation here is that the democratic revival of the 1990’s which brought democracy to the erstwhile authoritarian or dictatorship regimes also brought in the presidential, as opposed to the parliamentary system of government as the preferred form. The rationale behind this is that democracy is guarded under such a system by limiting the presidential term and by the principle of separation of powers entrenched by the mechanism of checks and balances."