History Of Malawi

CABINET CRISIS OF 1964: UNTOLD STORIES 16

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Chipembere standing second from left

Dr. Banda’s reaction to overwhelming pro-Chimbere support.

On the last day of September 1964, as a reaction to the disturbances in the Southern region, regulations were introduced empowering Dr. Banda to restrict people to specified areas and require them to report to local police stations regularly.
He immediately signed an order confining Chipembere within a four mile radius of his home in Malindi.
Pressmen visiting him  formed the view that he was neither surprised nor perturbed by the restriction order. He spared no chance to criticise the restriction in the strongest possible terms.
Supporters by the lorry loads arrived from Blantyre, Chiradzulo, Zomba, Kasupe and Fort Johnston itself- the whole of the northern half of the Southern region-coming to express their sympathy and solidarity and bringing him gifts and food stuffs.
During the interview with the press, atleast six Malawian bodyguards kept a protective watch on him. Several of these were former members of staff of the Fort Johnston (Mangochi) branch of the MCP who had resigned in protest when ex-ministers were recently expelled from the party.
Chipembere received frequent warnings that Dr. Banda had hired men to assassinate him, and although he brushed these aside for some time, their insistence eventually convinced him.
His supporters in the police force sent him messages advising him to take detailed precautions including having bodyguards or leave the country.
Also Parliament was about to debate a constitutional amendment to permit detention without trial. He suspected that he would be the first to be detained.
So on 25th October 1964, a day or two before  the parliamentary debate, he left Malindi and went to hide himself with a party of seven in the mountains.
Dr. Banda soon learned of Chipembere‘s disappearance and expecting trouble, he had the Malawian District Commissioner of Fort Johnston (Mangochi), I.B. Itimu replaced by an expatriate, John Bolt, on 27 October 1964.
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Source: The Life of George Ndomondo,a Book by George Ndomondo and Colin Baker.

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