Chakufwa Chihana

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Chakufwa Chihana (deceased June 2006)

"Mr. Chihana died in a hospital "after an abortive surgery to remove a brain tumor," said his son Enoch. Mr. Chihana was an archrival of the nation's founder, Kamuzu Banda. A former trade union leader and human rights advocate, Mr. Chihana vehemently opposed Mr. Banda's three-decade dictatorial rule of the southern African nation. In the 1970's, Mr. Chihana was detained for six years without trial.

"He led the country's first underground political movement, which, with international support, pressed Mr. Banda to call for a referendum on political pluralism. That culminated in the first multiparty elections, in 1994.

"Mr. Banda's iron-fisted rule was characterized by human rights abuses. According to some estimates, up to 100,000 Malawians were forced into exile during his tenure.

"Mr. Chihana served as second vice president under Mr. Banda's successor, Bakili Muluzi, and his death was mourned by the current president, Bingu wa Mutharika, in an official statement. He was to receive a state funeral." [1]

"The TUCM is a member of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), although the ICFTU suspended the TUCM in December, and the Organization of African Trade Union Unity. It also belongs to the Southern African Trade Union Coordination Council (SATUCC). The Government closed SATUCC's Malawi office in 1992, following the arrest of its chairman, Chakufwa Chihana, on charges of sedition. In September 1993, SATUCC received the Government's approval to reopen its Malawi office and it plans to return in early 1994." 1993

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