Written by Inno Chanza.
In 1995 Lt. Col James Njoloma organized a few soldiers to topple Bakili Muluzi. He was betrayed by fellow soldiers who alerted the authorities. Lt. Col James Njoloma and his accomplices went AWOL which led to the biggest police manhunt in Nyasaland since the 1915 Uprising.
Ironically, Lt. Col James Njoloma’s grandfather George Njoloma was raised by John Chilembwe. Lt. Col James Njoloma was a renowned historian who never accepted that John Chilembwe died.
The police failed to locate Lt. Col James Njoloma during their manhunt. Some Nyasa friends lied to him that all was fine and that he should give himself up…. not knowing that he would be eliminated.
Manken Chigawa, the general at that time was also eliminated for allegedly turning a blind eye to Lt. Col James Njoloma’s mutiny.
On Friday 8th November 1998, the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal quashed and set aside the conviction and sentence of the late Lt. Col James Njoloma who died in unexplained circumstances in Zomba Central prison on June 24th 1998, whilst serving a 15-year sentence for incitement to mutiny.
The Supreme Court, comprising Chief Justice Richard Banda and judges Michael Mthenga and Duncan Tambala found that the Court-martial which sat at Salima in August 1995, assisted by High Court judge Isaac Mtambo, had no jurisdiction to try Lt. Col James Njoloma as Section 76 (3) (a) of the relevant Act provided that officers above the rank of captain could only be tried in the High Court.