Hastings Banda became the first president of Malawi, exactly two years after the country was granted independence from the United Kingdom.
Malawi adopted a new constitution on July 6, 1966, in which the country was declared a republic. Banda was elected the country’s first president for a five-year term; he was the only candidate. The new document granted Banda wide executive and legislative powers, and also formally made the MCP the only legal party.
However, the country had been a de facto one-party state since independence. In 1970, a congress of the MCP declared Banda its president for life. In 1971, the legislature declared Banda President for Life of Malawi as well.
His official title was His Excellency the Life President of the Republic of Malaŵi, Ngwazi Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda. The title Ngwazi means “chief of chiefs” (more literally, “great lion”, or, some would say, “conqueror”) in Chicheŵa.
The Central African Federation officially collapsed, eventually to become Zambia, Malawi and Rhodesia.
The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, also known as Central African Federation, was a semi-independent state in southern Africa that existed from 1953 to the end of 1963, comprising the former Self-Governing (since 1923) Colony of Southern Rhodesia and the British protectorates of Northern Rhodesia, and Nyasaland. Read More…
On April 15, 1961 the MCP won an overwhelming victory in elections for a new Legislative Council. In a second constitutional conference in London in November 1962, the British Government agreed to give Nyasaland self-governing status the following year.
This announcement sealed the fate of the Central African Federation, which lost its reason for existence with an independent Nyasaland. Banda became Prime Minister on February 1, 1963, although the British still controlled Malawi’s financial, security, and judicial systems.
A new constitution took effect in May 1963, providing for virtually complete internal self-government. The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was dissolved on December 31, 1963, and Malawi became a fully independent member of the British Commonwealth on July 6, 1964.