CHAPTER II: The Gathering Storm

Chapter 2:
The Gathering Storm

2.1 Rose Chibambo
2.2 Radical tradition
2.3 Move to dictatorship
2.4 British complicity
2.5 The Cabinet Crisis
2.6 Regionalism – divide and rule
2.7 Popular support

Resistance took shape amongst the Nyasa people to a proposal that had been on the table from Salisbury and London to federate the three central African colonies – Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Once again the British colonial office was looking to download administrative costs for economic motives. There was also pressure from the large settler population in Southern Rhodesia to secure its dominant position in the region. One of independent Malawi’s first cabinet ministers Willie Chokani points out, “… it was to be a partnership of horse and rider…” and everyone knew who the rider would be. This was a major concern for the independent-minded Nyasas, who feared the installation of the apartheid style colonialism they experienced when they were in South Africa or Southern Rhodesia. The imposition of the Federation crystallised the nationalist opposition and made the political climate much hotter after 1953. Rose Chibambo, another early cabinet minister, explains the issues.