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New Left Review I/45, September-October 1967


Andrew Ross

White Africa’s Black Ally

In the first few days of September 1964, the Prime Minister of Malawi, Dr H. K. Banda, dismissed three of his most able ministers, O.E. Chirwa, qc, Minister, of Justice, W. M. K. Chiume, Foreign Minister, and Augustine Bwanausi Minister of Development; the response to this was that three other key men resigned in sympathy with their colleagues, Y. K. Chisiza, Home Affairs, W. Chokani, Labour, and H. B. M. Chipembere, the Minister of Education. The meeting of Parliament to debate a Motion of Confidence in the Prime Minister, called as a result of the dismissals, marks the beginning of a radical change in Malawi politics and society, which some observers saw as an upsurge of tribalism. This came as a shock to many who had held that Malawi was the new African state least troubled by tribalism and most imbued with a sense of nationhood.

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