Yatuta Chisiza
Yatuta Chisiza

The Cabinet Crisis of 1964 occurred in September 1964 barely three months after Malawi attained independence on 6 July 1964. It emanated from an irreconcilable rift between the Prime Minister, Dr. Hastings Banda (later Malawi’s first President) and his cabinet ministers.

Subsequently, under the umbrella of Ufulu Umodzi Malawi Party (UUMA), an armed group of 17 exiled Malawians led by Malawi’s former Minister of Home Affairs, Yatuta Chisiza (who had resigned during the cabinet crisis of 1964) entered Malawi border through Mwanza on Saturday 30th September 1967 with a mission to militarily topple the regime of Dr. Banda but did not succeed.

One major casualty of the 1964 cabinet crisis, was the free discussion of the political and economic history of the country and above all the production, documentation and dissemination of the history at large.

For almost 30 years since 1964, during national festivities when the political history of the country was expressed and re-enacted on radio, in news- papers, at national and local party gatherings and in schools, a version of history was presented that was specifically designed to personally please and glorify none other than Dr. Banda.

The version of history that was being inculcated in the minds of the new generation of Malawians was that which had to be approved by Dr Banda himself.

It is Dr. Banda’s own version which became the official history, and anybody departing from it was regarded as anti- government, a ‘rebel’, a ‘confusionist’, an ‘ungrateful’ person and, therefore, someone deserving detention without trial.

The October 1967 Mwanza ‘war’, marked the end of military resistance to Dr Banda’s dictatorship and almost smothered all anti-Banda political activity amongst the Malawians in exile.


The October 1967 Mwanza ‘war’ is a critical episode in Malawian history. It reveals the courageous determination to overthrow the oppressive and dictatorial regime of Dr Banda within the context of the cabinet crisis of 1964.

It is a sadly overlooked episode in many narratives of the struggle for democracy and against the one party rule in Malawi.

Throughout Dr. Banda regime and up to now, the accounts of the October 1967 Mwanza ‘war’ and the cabinet crisis of 1964 have been discussed with a bias towards the official narrative given by the one party state of Dr. Banda.

The year 2018, marks exactly 54 and 51 years after the October 1967 ‘war’ in Mwanza and the cabinet crisis of 1964 respectively.

Kindly take note that the seminar tomorrow on the 13th October 2018 in Zomba can be access online through live streaming courtesy of Robert Brown Consulting Group. So those abroad can follow and participate in the deliberations of this seminar.   www.historyofmalawi.com

The surviving ‘rebel’ Frank Jiya, Major General Namwali, Aldin Osman a journalist who covered the Mwanza war from the battlefield, and family members of the victims (Yatuta Chisiza, Lutengano Mwahimba etc) will be in attendance.



Saturday, 13th October 2018. Gymkhana Club. Zomba.

08:00                Registration

08:30                Welcoming Remarks by President of Chanco Association of Young Patriots (CAYP)-Dziwapo Chamutolo

08:45                Introductions

09:00                Presentation 1- Background/Objectives/Expectations of the Seminar by Chairperson of Organizing Committee- Conleith Selenje

09:14                Minute of Silence for all combatants who perished during or in relation to October 1967 Mwanza ‘war’

09:15                Presentation 2- Cabinet Crisis of 1964: Its Background & Effects- Nyaude Chiponde

10:00                Intervention 1- Eye witness accounts of riots & protests in Zomba- Mr. Chiotha

10:15                TEA BREAK

10:30                Presentation 3- October 1967 Mwanza ‘War’: Background, Preparations, Combat & Aftermath- Frank Jiya

11:15                Intervention 2- Footage from Video Documentary- Bruno Matumbi

11:30                Intervention 3- Testimonies from family members of the departed combatants (Mwahimba, Chisiza, Munthali, Msiska, Kanyanya & others)

12:00                Discussions

13:30                LUNCH BREAK

14:30                Presentation 4- Cabinet Crisis of 1964 and Its Legacies: Drawing Parallels And Key Lessons to Contemporary Political Terrain in Malawi- Prof. Happy Kayuni

15:00                Intervention 3- Avoiding Mistakes of the Past From Happening Today- Robert Mkwezalamba Chairperson Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC)

15:15                Discussions

16:15                Conclusions & Way Forward

16:45                Closing remarks

  • On behalf of all the families of the departed combatants (TBC)
  • On behalf of Organizing Committee- Duncan Chirwa
  • On behalf of Chanco Association of Young Patriots (CAYP)-Dziwapo Chamutolo

17:00                END OF PROGRAMME/DEPARTURES

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