Despite July being a month of joy and celebration in which Malawi attained independence in 1964, July also happens to be a month of sadness and sorrow during which the country lost four prominent figures in the political circles including two cabinet ministers in just a space of two weeks. This was July of 1996 during the Dr. Bakili Muluzi administration.
Mc William Lunguzi was the last Inspector General of Police during Dr. Kamuzu Banda administration. He was relieved of his duties in 1994 by the newly elected President Dr. Bakili Muluzi. Together with former Reserve Bank Governor and Cabinet Minister John Tembo, Former Official Hostess Mama Cecilia Kadzamira and fellow police officers McDonald Kalemba and Leston Likawomba, he was later charged in a case concerning the assassination of three cabinet ministers and a parliamentarian in Mwanza on 18 May 1983. They were all acquitted.
In 1995, Mc William Lunguzi entered mainstream politics. He was suspected to have harbored ambitions to contest for the presidency of the Malawi Congress Party. He died in a car crash on 2 July 1996 near Mponela about 60 kilometres north of the capital, Lilongwe. He was on his way from Mzuzu travelling in the same vehicle together with Gwanda Chakuamba who survived the accident unhurt.
Alhaji Shaibu Itimu was one of the leading Muslims to have surfaced during the struggle for multiparty democracy in the early 1990s. He was a founding member of the United Democratic Front (UDF). He died on 10 July 1996 after an illness. Until his death, Itimu was Works and Supplies Minister.
Another politician who also passed away within the first two weeks of July 1996, was Collins Chizumila who was also a founding member of the UDF. Until his death, he was Minister of Justice and Attorney General as well as Treasurer General for UDF.
Also passing away in early July in the same year, was a legislator for Blantyre (Ndirande) called Witness Makata who had won the seat during the May 1994 General Elections. He was a son to a Ndirande based indigenous entrepreneur cum politician in the Nyasaland African Congress (NAC) called Lawrence Makata who was also a co-founder of the first trade union in Nyasaland in 1945 the Transport and General Workers Union.
Following the death of the legislator, the by-election for Ndirande was scheduled for November 1996 and later postponed at the eleventh hour to April 1997 following prevalent acts of political violence, abductions of candidates, bribery, court injunctions, series of intimidations and other electoral irregularities.
This culminated to the opposition political parties (Malawi Congress Party and Alliance for Democracy) eventually pulling out of the race thereby paving way for the UDF candidate Peter Tchupa to win the seat unopposed.