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George Banda, a man who witnessed his colleagues being fed to crocodiles during MCP era

George Banda and wife

George Banda was a teacher at Mary Mount in Mzuzu. He was a graduate from Chancellor College currently University of Malawi (UNIMA).

In 1988 he was picked by the authorities who took him from Mzuzu to Blantyre. George did not know where they were taking him to.

The authorities finally took him to Stella Maris Malawi Young Pioneer (MYP) Base where he found alot of people.

He saw some familiar faces he had known since his college days at Chancellor College. One of them was Kumwenda.

They were taken to a place which had something like a concrete dam which had lots of crocodiles in it. They were forced to form a single file and one by one, they were lifted and thrown to the crocodiles in the dam.

George started shaking with fear. He started thinking about what he could do to escape. When he was shaking, there were now only three gentlemen in front of him to be thrown to the crocodiles.

Just as they were about to throw the last person in front of him, George looked aside and saw a land-rover whose engine was left running.

With adrenaline running high in his body, he jumped off from the queue got into the land rover and sped off. Chaos broke off with the MYPs chasing George who drove off towards the main gate.

In his mind, he was thinking I shouldn’t let them throw me to the crocodiles. At least they should beat or shoot me to death.

George’s impulse was, “I should die trying to escape not like a sheep in a slaughter house”. Luckily the main gate was not fully closed and was manned by MYPs with baton sticks only.

In a James Bond style, George Banda drove the land rover through the gate hitting and opening it.

In the melee that followed, behind were now the MYP guards helplessly chasing him with their baton sticks, behind them was the other group who were throwing people to the crocodiles.

George drove the land rover and successfully avoided the road blocks. He drove through Blantyre and took the Lunzu road. He was lucky there were no cellphones at that time. Those who manned the wireless gadgets had no clue where he was heading to.

He knew it was going to be difficult to drive through the Zalewa Bridge which was manned by the police. Instinctively he branched off into a dusty road towards Matope Bridge.

Somewhere near Matope Bridge, he abandoned the vehicle in the bush and started walking. He crossed the old Matope Bridge passed through the forested Kam’mwamba area until he reached Phalula.

George depended on food he was given from one village to another. But he never revealed who he was or what he had seen at MYP base, Stella Maris in Blantyre. He just lied that he was going to a nearby place.

George Banda used these tactics successfully until he reached Lilongwe. He walked for four days from Blantyre to Lilongwe.

Meanwhile the government was trying hard to locate and capture him by monitoring his relative’s homes.

George Banda did not spend a long time in Lilongwe for fear of being captured. He escaped to Zambia through Chipata where he was given a refugee status.

The Red Cross helped him and assisted to bring his family to Zambia for fear of persecutions in Malawi.

Thereafter the Africa Watch Human Rights Organisation assisted George Banda to move to Europe, America and Canada. There he recounted his ordeal at Dr. Kamuzu Banda’s Crocodile Farm.

George Banda’s story appeared in The Sunday Times in London in 1988. The British Overseas Development Minister, Lynda Chalker also interviewed George Banda on the national television in Britain.

But the question is what did George Banda do to Dr Banda?

In May 1988, at dawn while sleeping, the MYP and Police picked George Banda at his house. They took him to Mzuzu Airport and flew him to Blantyre. They charged him at MYP base in Blantyre of corresponding with members of Mafremo outside the country whose leader Orton Chirwa was at Zomba Maximum Prison.

During the December 1993 “Operation Bwenzani”, the Malawi Army descended on Stella Maris MYP base and attacked it in a full military operation. Helicopters shot air to surface rockets at the MYP Base. Thereafter people descended on the base to vandalize and steal what was left.

Reports revealed hungry crocodiles were wandering around the dilapidated base long after the MYP fled. Some escaped to the nearby Naperi River while the rest died of hunger. Malawi Film Industry, here is a blockbuster movie script of a true story.

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