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This paper critiques the ‘freedom-centred’ view of development by arguing that while development must be about expanding peoples’ freedoms, the dynamics of power between ‘developers’ and ‘developees’ must not be ignored. There is little analysis of the implications of multi-party political system (seemingly equated with democracy) in facilitating development and freedom. Using Malawi as an illustration, it is argued that freedom and development are inextricably linked such that one cannot function without the other. Access to basic social services, the right of democratic participation for all citizens, and the right to act as free economic actors cannot be achieved unless these freedoms are buttressed by genuine decentralised governance structures, strong partnerships among government, opposition political parties, and civil society organisations, and good governance backed by good civic education programmes on the two themes.

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