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How Journalists were Treated at Dr. Kamuzu Banda’s Press Conferences During One Party State

“…The Press conferences were memorable affairs in which Dr. Kamuzu Banda’s personal bodyguards played a major role. They wore white uniforms with red pillow box-styled caps and their job was to eject from the conference those who might persist in asking undesirable questions. We called them ice cream men.

[One of the press conferences went like this]:

Kamuzu Banda: I have no statements to make to you. I did not even wish to talk to you because you are all writers of lies. It is you who have asked to see me. I will answer questions, but I will not answer stupid questions.

Ian Mills of United Press International: Mr. President, is it true you have received an invitation to visit South Africa?

Kamuzu Banda: That is a stupid question!

Ian Mills: But Mr. President, it has been reported…

Kamuzu Banda: Shut up!

Ronald Legge of the London Sunday Times: Is it true that you are about to announce a cabinet reshuffle?

Kamuzu Banda: That is none of your business!

Donald Wise of London Daily Mirror: Mr. President, do you have a comment to make on the increase of witchcraft in Malawi?

Kamuzu Banda: Dont you talk to me about witchcraft. You are people who burned Joan of Arc at stake!

Donald Wise: But Mr. President, in regard to Malawi’s witchcraft…

Kamuzu Banda: Shut up!That is a stupid question. Get out! Throw him out!

Ice cream men entered, seized Donald Wise by the arm and frog-matched him out. Soon, there weren’t many of us left and the conference ended with no questions having been answered”

Source: a book ‘Every Meal a Banquet, Every Night a Honeymoon’ by Peter L. Younghusband (2003), pages 280-281.

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Flora Mitumba
Flora Mitumba


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