EXACTLY 40 YEARS AGO THIS MONTH: PRESIDENT BANDA’S PRESS CONFERENCE ON 30 JUNE

HKB_ABROAD

HKB_ABROADIN A RARE PRESS CONFERENCE HELD ON 30 JUNE 1978, MALAWI LIFE PRESIDENT DR. H. KAMUZU BANDA ANSWERED QUESTIONS FROM FOREIGN JOURNALISTS FOR OVER TWO HOURS.

THE NINE JOURNALISTS, REPRESENTING TIME MAGAZINE, BBC RADIO AND TV, LONDON TIMES, FINANCIAL TIMES, REUTERS AND UPI, WERE ALL BRITISH EXCEPT FOR ONE AMERICAN. THEY HAD BEEN GIVEN PERMISSION TO ENTER MALAWI TO COVER THE JUNE 29 PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS AND NATIONAL DAY CELEBRATIONS JULY 1-6:

1.  BANDA CLAIMED THAT ALL POLITICAL DETAINEES HAD BEEN RELEASED JUNE 4, 1977, AND NONE WERE CURRENTLY BEING HELD. HE SAID THAT THOSE CURRENTLY IMPRISONED UNDER DETENTION ORDERS WERE EITHER CRIMINALS AWAITING TRIAL OR OTHERS WHOM THE POLICE ARE INVESTIGATING (PRESUMABLY FOR CRIMINAL OFFENSES).

2. HE THEN DISCLOSED THAT HE HAD DETAINED A PARLIAMENTARY CANDIDATE, FRASER PHIRI, FOR “TERRORIZING” AND “MOLESTING” HIS PEOPLE DURING THE RECENT ELECTIONS.

3. INTERNATIONAL MEDIA HAD REPORTED THAT MOST TOBACCO PRODUCTION IN MALAWI WAS CONTROLLED BY BANDA, EITHER PERSONALLY OR THROUGH HIS COMPANIES (I.E. PRESS HOLDINGS) AND MEMBERS OF HIS FAMILY. BANDA ASSERTED THAT THESE MEDIA REPORTS CONTAINED “LIBELOUS AND ATROCIOUS LIES.”

4. HE EXPLAINED THAT HE OWNED TOBACCO ESTATES ” BUT NOT FROM CHOICE” AS HE HAD ACQUIRED THEM IN THE EARLY 1960’S WHEN BRITISH INTERESTS WERE ABONDONING ESTATES IN THE CENTRAL REGION BECAUSE OF DECLINING PROFITS. TO MAINTAIN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE AREA, BANDA SAID HE BOUGHT THE ESTATES.

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 Source: WikiLeaks.