Kamuzu Banda Elected As President Designate of Republic

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On Friday 22nd April 1966, Dr. Kamuzu Banda then serving as Prime Minister of Malawi, was elected as President Designate in readiness for Malawi becoming a Republic within the British Commonwealth.

The election was held during a parliamentary sitting in the then capital city of Zomba.

Dr. Kamuzu Banda was the only nominee for the presidential election whose electorates were the legislators. He was elected under the Bill which passed all the three stages of reading without opposition.

The new constitution which was drawn up for Malawi in readiness of becoming a republic with effect from 6th July 1966, made Malawi a one-party state under Malawi Congress Party and revoked the bill of rights as enshrined in the previous constitution.

The new constitution also gave Dr Kamuzu Banda the absolute powers to prorogue and dissolve parliament.

In his speech relayed over loudspeakers to a huge crowd that had gathered outside parliament, Dr. Kamuzu Banda stated that he was accepting the nomination for the presidency with “fear and humility.” He stressed that his fear was not political but rather economic on how to develop the country.

The swearing in ceremony of Dr. Kamuzu Banda as President was held three months later on Wednesday 6th July 1966 at Rangely Stadium (now Kamuzu Stadium) during an occasion when Malawi officially became a Republic.

The guest of honour at this event was His Imperial Highness Prince Asfa Wossen of Ethiopia, the eldest son of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia, Heir-apparent to the Ethiopian throne and Governor of Ethiopia’s Wollo province.

Previously, Dr. Kamuzu Banda had been sworn-in two times as Prime Minister. Firstly, it was on Friday the 1st of February 1963 when Nyasaland officially became a self-governing country that Dr. Kamuzu Banda was sworn in as the Prime Minister of Nyasaland at a ceremony presided over by the Governor of Nyasaland Sir Glyn Jones at Parliament in Zomba.

And then a year later on Monday 6th July 1964, Dr.Kamuzu Banda was again sworn in as Prime Minister of Malawi at Rangely Stadium in Blantyre to officially mark the birth of an independent country.-(Source: History Of Malawi)