Mpango eulogises late Malawi VP as steadfast leader

LILONGWE, Malawi: THE Vice-President Dr Philip Mpango has paid tribute to the late Malawi Vice-President Dr Saulos Klaus Chilima who died in a tragic plane crash last week.

Dr Mpango represented President Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan at the State Funeral service of the late Dr Chilima held on Sunday, at the Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe, Malawi.

Offering the farewell condolences, Dr Mpango said Tanzania conveys heartfelt sympathy and joins the mourners, who have been gripped with sadness and sorrow during this difficult period.

“Tanzania brings to your Excellency President President Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi, the bereaved family and all people of Malawi, our deepest and most heartfelt condolences,” said Dr Mpango.

ALSO READ: CONFIRMED: Malawi Vice President Chilima, nine others killed in plane crash

Describing the late Chilima, Dr Mpango said he was a steadfast leader, a true son of Africa who always put the interests of the citizens he led and Africa as a whole ahead of everything else.

The Vice-President also mentioned the late Chilima as a leader who upheld and promoted unity, peace and security, Malawi’s economic transformation and democratic governance.

He said that the people of Malawi and the region as a whole, should honour the late Chilima by continuing carrying on with the course he championed and continue to pray for his soul to rest in eternal peace.

Attending the State Funeral, the Vice-President was accompanied by Zanzibar’s Minister of State in the Second Vice-President Office, Mr Hamza Hassan Juma, the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Stephen Byabato, as well as the Tanzanian Ambassador, Agnes Kayola in Malawi.

On June 8th this year, it was reported that Dr Chilima, along with nine others died in a tragic plane crash in the Chikangawa forest. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Malawians yesterday took part in a funeral service at the national stadium to pay tribute to the vice-president, who died in the plane crash last week.

ALSO READ: Samia mourns Malawi’s VP, 9 others perished in plane crash

Saulos Chilima, 51, was considered a breath of fresh air in Malawian politics. He was an eloquent public speaker and energetic campaigner who held huge sway among the youth who account for more than half of Malawians.

At the service, the Malawian President promised a full investigation into the cause of the crash, adding that he had asked foreign governments to help.

“I also have the same questions that Malawians have,” he said.

President Chakwera had previously said the military aircraft had crashed because of poor visibility caused by bad weather but Mr Chilima’s UTM party has called for a thorough and independent investigation.

The president said that the Malawian military would carry out an investigation but that another, independent, one was needed as well. Mr Chilima was a devout Catholic and the service included a full mass.

He will be buried in his home district of Ntcheu, 180km (112 miles) south of Lilongwe today, which has been declared a public holiday. His coffin, draped in Malawi’s red, green and black flag, was brought into the stadium by a guard of honour. The 41,000-capacity stadium was full, with more people outside.

The service began with moving tributes from his family. His son, Sean, recalled what a loving father he was, how he always had time for children and played games with them.

He added that his father had been extremely competitive and always wanted to win.

“Dad was a hard worker who always made sure he got things done,” he said.

His brother, Ben, said the family was grateful to have been given the personal belongings he had on him at the time of the accident, including his watch and rosary.

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