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Hastings Banda

Where is Dr Hastings Kamuza Banda Now? Well the simple answer is dead. At least it should be the simple answer. According to the international press who printed obituaries back in 1997 the good doctor has left this plane of existence, and that fact is not in dispute by any of the citizens of Malawi, the Southern African country he ruled over for 31 years from independence to the first free elections in 1994. It does, however, seem to be a fact in dispute by various bank managers around the globe.

So why does the opinion of the bank managers matter? It matters because of that usual legacy of dictators, Money. Suprising as it may seem in a country where the average GDP per capita is $940 and the number of people below the poverty line was estimated in 1990 to be 54% Dr. Banda's fortune after death was calculated at a notch under $320 Million. What is not so suprising is that there are a great many people who would like to get their hands on this rather sizable fortune. Other than the residents of Malawi, whose interest is justified as most of the riches were bound for them, there are two parties fighting for pecuniary control. The Dr. Banda's remaining family and a certain Cecilia Kadzamira.

Miss Kadzamira, you see, nursed the late Dr. Banda through the final years of his life and feels that good deed entitles her to most, if not all of the late premier's holdings. The family certainly fears this and have accused her of coaxing her late charge into changing his will and leaving the majority of the estate to her. What should, however, be a simple (not to mention juicy) court struggle is made more complicated by one factor: the death certificate cannot be located....and that is where the bank managers come in. As the majority of banks will not release account details without a death certificate no one is getting anything.

A couple of foreign banks have been forthcoming, but the $1/2 million uncovered is only the tip of the iceberg. Add to this the fact his advisors, to a man, deny any knowledge of his overseas accounts, and the conspiracy theories start to form. Commentators have already accused some of his acolytes of using this diversion to transfer large sums from his accounts and the family is becoming apoplectic. Wherever he may be Dr. Banda must surely have a smile on his face. Having dominated the country from independence to the mid nineties he is still, even after his death, the center of attention in Malawi.

 

As long as men worship the Ceasars and Napoleons, the Ceasars and Napoleons will duly rise and make them miserable.
Aldous Huxley
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