Thursday, July 25, 2024

Zambia Mourns with Malawi

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In a deeply moving ceremony, tens of thousands of Malawians gathered at the national stadium to pay their final respects to Vice-President Saulos Chilima, who tragically died in a plane crash last week. The service, held at the Bingu National Stadium, saw the attendance of various dignitaries, including Zambia’s Defence Minister Ambrose Lufuma, who conveyed condolences on behalf of President Hakainde Hichilema and the people of Zambia.

Minister Lufuma expressed profound sorrow over the untimely death of Dr. Chilima and eight others, emphasizing the shared grief between Zambia and Malawi due to their common cultural and historical ties. He reiterated Zambia’s solidarity with Malawi during this period of mourning.

Vice-President Chilima, remembered as a dynamic and inspiring leader, especially among the youth, will be laid to rest in his home district of Ntcheu. The Malawian government has declared Monday a public holiday to honor his memory.

President Lazarus Chakwera, speaking at the service, vowed to conduct a thorough investigation into the crash. He acknowledged the public’s demand for clarity and has sought assistance from foreign governments for the investigation. Initially attributing the crash to poor visibility caused by bad weather, President Chakwera agreed with calls from Chilima’s UTM party for an independent inquiry to ensure transparency and justice.

The stadium, with a capacity of 41,000, was filled to the brim, and additional crowds gathered outside. Despite some initial unrest, calm was restored through the intervention of Catholic priests who led the service, which included a full mass, reflecting Chilima’s devout faith.

Chilima’s coffin, draped in the Malawian flag, was carried by an honor guard, marking a solemn and respectful farewell. His family shared personal tributes, highlighting his loving nature, competitive spirit, and dedication to both his family and country.

Chilima, who transitioned from a successful private sector career into politics at 40, had served as vice-president since 2014. Despite a contentious political landscape, his alliance with President Chakwera in 2020 brought hope for a unified leadership.

1 COMMENT

  1. So exciting event for the Malawians. They mourn him more than their late presidents.
    Something to remember.

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