History Of Malawi

CABINET CRISIS OF 1964: UNTOLD STORIES 14

Chipembere photoExcerpt of a Speech to the National Assembly (in Zomba) Made by Minister of Education and Member of Parliament (MP) for Fort Johnston East (Mangochi), Hon. Henry Blasius Masauko Chipembere on the 9th of September 1964.

…I, wrongly or rightly, regard myself as a man of some principles, a man of some honesty, a man of some courage, a man of some respect-respect which I enjoy among the members of the public and I wouldn’t dare for a moment retreat from my principles.

I wouldn’t dare for a moment abandon my friends and colleagues. It would have been an act of real betrayal for which I would be ashamed for the rest of my life, if I had decided to remain in the Government, while some of my friends have been dismissed.

These are my colleagues. I have worked with them for a long period of many, many years. They have been faithful to me; they have been helpful to me; their work has earned them great praises, both from the public and from the Prime Minister (Dr. H.K. Banda). Today, here, they are being described as traitors. History will pass its judgment.

…Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have resigned in sympathy with my friends. I myself had not been dismissed, but I believe that I have a duty to lodge a humble and loyal protest by resigning my portfolio to show the world that I humbly refuse to agree that dismissal was the solution to the problem he (Dr. H.K. Banda) was facing in this situation. I believe that a man of great resources like the Ngwazi could have thought of a better solution, wiser solution, a solution that would have ensured continued stability and peace in the country.

He should, for instance, have called his Members here. He could have called a conference of the Malawi Congress Party as he often does to discuss particular situations, or District Committees, including Women Leagues, and the Youth League. He could have informed them: “This is what my ministers are saying. This is what my ministers are doing.” And the country would have been very happy and proud to have been brought into the confidence in that manner.

The people of this country are never happier than when the Ngwazi shows clearly that he is taking them into his confidence, and wants to consult them at every level and on every step. He could have done that, but he didn’t. So i felt that I must humbly show him that I do not consider it to have been a wise step. And this is normal procedure, its normal procedure…So today I hope nobody will call me a traitor by resigning.

…Mr. Speaker, Iam a student of history, and as I keep saying, that when I was sent to Gaol by Mr. Justice Cram, I did nothing but cram, I did a lot of reading and one thing which I learnt there from my readings was that history takes long to declare its verdict; history takes long to declare its judgment. The scoundrels of today may be heroes tomorrow, the villains of today may be declared saints tomorrow, it may be after their death.

So, although today I may be condemned, I may be declared a traitor, I know that ultimately, however long it may take, my stand will be justified, and I wish to declare to my fellow Honorable members that, whatever will be the position, I will not have grudges against them. They are my fellow members of the Malawi Congress Party.

…Whatever allegations may be made against me today by men, who have held me in great respects before, and I know that there are quite a number who have done so; I will not hold it against them. I will realize that it is the strain and stress of the time that has made them say these things.

…But let me not hide one thing, lest I should be alleged to have deceived. I have a duty to go and explain to my voters why I have resigned. They used to take great pride in the fact that their constituency was represented in the Cabinet of the country. They will be shocked and sad to see me returning as an ordinary back bencher, going to join them in fishing at Malindi.

So it is my duty to explain to them, and I will do so in public; I will not hold secret meetings as has been feared in this House. I will organize public meetings, and I will invite my nearest colleague, Mr. George Cecil Ndomondo, member of Fort Johnston West. I will invite him, and any other Malawian, to come and attend this meeting, where I will explain myself along the same lines which I have explained this afternoon.

I will add not a single word, nor will I retract a single word. That is what Iam going to do, and let no man believe that anything has been organized. The crowd which is cheering outside, when did I organize it? I noticed when I came in. Am glad to hear that the Honorable member is in doubt because he says it is possible it was organized. It shows that he is not quite sure.

TO BE CONTINUED.

 

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