History Of Malawi


Samora Machel (right)

On 11 September 1986, after his repeated protests to Malawi over RENAMO incursions in Mozambique originating from Malawi, Mozambican President Samora Machel visited Dr. Banda at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre along side Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

Samora Machel loathed Dr. Banda, whom he described as a ‘fascist, a black Nazi, with all the characteristics of the European fascists … He kills his collaborators with such ease’.

Samora Machel had a highly charged meeting with Dr. Banda in which he presented to the Malawian President a dossier filled with evidence of Malawian and South African military, logistic and training support for RENAMO rebels who were fighting against his own government in the on-going civil war in Mozambique.  This included a copy of a Malawian passport issued for RENAMO leader Alfonso Dhlakama.

Dr. Banda was given an ultimatum by President Kaunda and President Mugabe to immediately expel the RENAMO rebels who were using Malawi as a springboard for attacks against a sitting government in Mozambique.

Dr. Banda duly complied with the demands of the Frontline States’ leaders, but allowed the RENAMO rebels to safely cross over Malawi territory to Tete and Zambezia provinces on the other side.

RENAMO thereafter mounted a huge offensive in Zambezia (where Mozambique government had few troops) and approached the city of Quilimane, threatening to divide Mozambique in two parts to provide Malawi with an outlet to the sea as per the alleged deal between RENAMO and Dr. Banda.

Upon his return from the Sanjika meeting, Samora Machel called a news conference at Maputo airport, threatening that he would place missiles along the border with Malawi and would not hesitate to launch a pre-emptive strike if Malawi continued to render support to RENAMO rebels.

Barely a month after the meeting at Sanjika, Samora Machel died in a plane crush on 19th October 1986 in the hills of Mbuzini along the South Africa and Mozambique border.

On the night of the crash, Samora Machel was returning from the a heads of states summit in Zambia which had discussed the liberation of the region among items of its agenda.

After the crash, Apartheid South Africa’s Foreign Minister Pik Botha alleged that the Summit in Zambia from which Samora Machel was coming, had plotted the overthrow of the Government of Malawi. No proof of this exists.



Fauvet and Mosse, Carlos Cardoso, 158

Williamson, TRC Testimony, 210.

Patta, “Samora Machel.”

Williamson, TRC Testimony, 210.

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