Chakwera confirms VP Chilima, others have been killed in plane crash

Malawi President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has announced that State Vice President Dr. Saulos Klaus Chilima, and all the passengers aboard the military aircraft that went missing yesterday have been found dead.

President Chakwera said Chilima and eight others were killed immediately after the aircraft crashed into Nthungwa Hill within the Chikangawa Forest.

The group was travelling to attend the funeral of a former government minister. Three of those onboard were the military crew flying the plane, the president said.

In a national address monitored on the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation a short while ago, Chakwera said he had been informed by the Malawi Defence Force Commander about the perishing of Chilima and others in the crash.

“Words cannot describe how heartbreaking this is, and I can only imagine how much pain and anguish you all must be feeling at this time, as well as how much pain and anguish you all will be feeling in the coming days and weeks as we mourn this terrible loss. I also know that going through a terrible loss like this makes us feel helpless and lost, as death has a way of reminding us that we do not have control over so many things that affect our lives and those we love. We feel helpless because we know that the people who perished in this tragic and terrible accident could have been any one of us, and we feel helpless because a day like today reminds us that one day and any day death will in fact come for each one of us and we will be powerless to stop it,” he said.

Chilima, died in a plane crash

The seemingly heartbroken Head of State hasasked Malawians to put politics aside and mourn the departed Vice President and others with dignity, respect and honour they deserved as nationalists and patriots.

President Chakwera described Chilima as a good man, a devoted father and husband, a patriotic citizen who served his country with distinction, and a formidable Vice President.

The Malawi leader said he considered it one of the greatest honours of his life to have had Chilima as his deputy and counsellor for the past four years.

Chakwera therefore described his passing as a terrible loss to his wife Mary, his family, his friends, his colleagues in Cabinet, and to all of us as a nation that found his leadership and courage a source of inspiration.

“And I know that even the others who were on that flight were men and women of honour who served their country with distinction and whose families are left with broken hearts today. I am profoundly sorry to all of you for this terrible loss, and I pray for God to comfort us all and bind up our wounds as we mourn together as one nation under one flag,” said Chakwera.

Chilima had been vice president since 2020. He was a candidate in the 2019 Malawian presidential election and finished third.

That vote was won by incumbent Peter Mutharika but was annulled by Malawi’s Constitutional Court because of irregularities. Chakwera finished second in that election.

Chilima then joined Chakwera’s campaign as his running mate in an historic election rerun in 2020, when Chakwera was elected president.

It was the first time in Africa that an election result that was overturned by a court resulted in a defeat for the sitting president.

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