Malawi decorates first post independence European minister

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Malawi has decorated post independence cabinet minister, Colin Cameron, who was Scottish, for his open campaign for the country’s self rule between 1957 and 1964.

Mutharika decorating Cameron Mutharika decorating Cameron

Introducing Cameron during the National Service of Worship to commemorate the 53rd independence anniversary held at Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe, Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Joseph Mwanamvekha, said the Scottish citizen came to Malawi in 1957 to work as a government lawyer but became sympathetic to the independence movement.

“Honourable Cameron became sympathetic of the independence movement and he represented several freedom fighters in their trials during the State of Emergency in March 1959,” said Mwanamvekha, who was the prayers’ organising chairperson.

According to Mwanamvekha, Cameron returned to Scotland in 1960 after the expiry of his employment contract only to be called back to Malawi by Malawi’s first President, Hastings Kamuzu Banda.

Mwanamvekha said Cameron contested for a parliamentary seat in Blantyre-Soche in the 1961 general elections, under the advice of Kamuzu Banda.

“He returned to Malawi in 1961 and won the elections for the Soche Constituency. He was then appointed Minister of Works and Transport and later became Minister of Communications. In the 1964 general elections, Cameron was the only European to be re-elected as a Malawi Congress Party candidate and was the only European in the first post independence cabinet,” said Mwanamvekha.

Cameron resigned from cabinet during the July 1964 Cabinet Crisis and returned to his legal practice where he represented among others, former Minister of Education, Henry Masauko Blasius Chipembere, before leaving Malawi in November the same year.

“Cameron was invited to become the Honorary Consul of Malawi in Scotland by the second President of Malawi, Dr Bakili Muluzi, in 1994,” said Mwanamvekha.

Speaking before being decorated, Cameron said he was honoured to receive the medal for his role in the independence movement and that the recognition symbolises the great partnership between Malawi and Scotland.

“I was there in 1964 when Malawi was given its independence. 6 July is also a very important day for my wife Alison and I. It was on a day like this that we left Scotland for the first time to work here 60 years ago. We wish Malawi all the best in the next 53 years,” said 83 year old Cameron.

President Professor Peter Mutharika speaking after decorating Cameron said time has come for Malawi to make its independence truly meaningful by moving away from being economically and politically dependent on other countries.

“I want us to make our independence meaningful. I want us to be politically and economically independent. God has given us everything to prosper. Our prosperity lays in our hard work and dedication,” said Mutharika.

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