History Of Malawi

THIS MONTH IN THE HISTORY OF MALAWI: The Famous MCP Annual Convention of 1973.

HKB_PARADEProbably the most famous and much talk about national event of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) since Malawi attained independence in 1964, was the annual convention which was held in Mzuzu from 2-8 September 1973.

Among the issues that Dr. Banda the Life President of the party and republic had floated for the convention to discuss, was whether the exiled Malawians who previously had supported the idea to maintain the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland such as Manoah Chirwa, should be allowed to return home.

After intense debate by the delegates, Dr. Banda suddenly stormed into the convention the following day with fury and accused the delegates to have completely misunderstood his motive for bringing the matter into the convention altogether.

The majority of delegates therefore felt they had in the first place been tricked into having an impression that Dr. Banda had pardoned the exiled and that the matter before convention was merely to decide if the pardoned sons of Malawi should be allowed to relocated to their home country considering that many of them had grown old.

It is reported that the Malawi Young Pioneers (MYP) headed by their commander Gwanda Chakuamba, violently descended on the delegates including the chiefs who had spoken during the debate infavour of the ‘exiled traitors’ and beat them up severely. All the chiefs who had supported the coming back of the ‘exiled traitors’ were deposed by Dr. Banda.

One of these chiefs was Chief Mwase of Kasungu a veteran freedom fighter who immensely contributed to the struggle against the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. The government immediately sent a bulldozer to pull down Chief Mwase’s residence and demolish his headquarters (office). His cattle and other properties were also confiscated forth with.

While not feeling well health-wise, Chief Mwase himself was picked by the state security officers and banished to Mulanje where he lived under solitary confinement without even been allowed to be visited by members of his own family to the extent that his health exceedingly deteriorated. After a couple of years, he was allowed to return home in Kasungu where he soon died.

Chief Mwase’s induna (counselor) called GK Mpango also faced the same fate and was thrown into detention for a number of years at Mikuyu prison in Zomba.

Manoah Chirwa_edited

Manoah Chirwa

On 21 January 1974, Dr. Banda announced the replacement of Chief Mwase as paramount chief of the Chewas in Kasungu with his nephew Kaomba who was still a student at the University of Malawi (Chancellor College).

On 19 February 1974, a public rally was held in Kasungu by the regional minister for the central region Kum’bweza Banda and his deputy Aaron Gadama to justify the decision to replace the Mwase chieftancy with Kaomba chieftaincy.

The other chiefs who were also deposed like Chief Mwase were Chief Kabunduli of Nkhatabay, Chief Katumbi of Rumphi, Chief Kyungu of Karonga, and Chief Mwansambo (Mwafulirwa).

Four Members of Parliament were also expelled from parliament and the party at the same MCP convention by Dr. Banda. These were: Hon. Komenge Chirwa (Nkhatabay Centre), Hon Janet Faith Longwe (Nkhatabay South), Hon. Wilfred Matupi Mkandawire (Rumphi West).



Malawi Lost Years, book by Achibald Mwakasungura and Doug Miller (2015).

Albert Muwalo Nqumayo, book by Dr. Austin Mkandawire (2008).


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