Malawi mourns Veep Chilima & 8 others

Tributes have started pouring in for the departed Vice President Dr. Saulos Klaus Chilima and 8 other people who were killed Monday morning, 10th June, 2024 following a plane crash in Chikangawa Forest in Mzimba district.

Chilima and his entourage were going to Mzuzu, enroute to Nkhata Bay district to represent President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera at a burial ceremony of renowned legal practitioner Ralph Kasambara who died on Friday in Lilongwe.

A Malawi Defense Force Aircraft Dornier 228 which carried the entourage failed to land at Mzuzu Airport due to bad weather and later crashed in Chikangawa Forest.

Announcing the tragedy Tuesday afternoon, 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.

Former President Dr. Joyce Banda described Chilima as a devoted and visionary person, saying the country has lost a treasure.

Vice President Dr Saulos Chilima served as the country’s Vice President for 10 years

Banda however cautioned Malawians to desist from politicizing the tragedy and mourn in solidarity.

“Dr. Chilima has done a very great job in the development of the country. Up to the point of his death, he has been a dedicated son of the soil. As we are mourning him and the other departed souls, let us mourn in solidarity and desist from politicizing the deaths. Let’s give them their last respects,” she said.

Another former President, Dr. Bakili Muluzi said he is heartbroken and mourning the loss of the former First Lady Shanil Dzimbiri and State Vice President Dr. Saulos Chilima.

Former First Lady Shanil Dzimbiri

In his tribute, Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema says his country has joined Malawi in mourning the tragic passing on of Chilima and the nine other people.

Writing on his Facebook page, Hichilema said Zambia dispatched officers and air transport to help with the situation.

“On behalf of the Government and People of Zambia, we convey our deepest condolences to President Lazarus Chakwera and the people of Malawi, following the death of Vice President Saulos Klaus Chilima and other senior officials in the tragic plane crash. Zambia joins you in mourning this devastating loss.

“As a country, we have since dispatched some of our officers and air transport to help with the situation on the ground. We are one people,” wrote Hichilema.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) of South Africa, posting on their X account, said they mourn with Malawians the tragic passing on of Vice President Chilima and the other nine people.

“We send our deepest condolences to the people of Malawi on the passing of Vice President Saulos Chilima together with nine other citizens. May their souls Rest in Eternal Peace,” posted EFF.

In a statement signed by its National Chairperson Gift Trapence, Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) mourns the tragic passing on of the Veep and has described him as a dedicated public servant who devoted his life to the people of Malawi.

“Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) mourns the tragic loss of Vice President Dr. Saulos Klaus Chilima, a dedicated public servant who devoted his life to the people of Malawi. Dr. Chilima was instrumental in advancing the rights of marginalised communities and promoting democratic values in our nation.

“Our thoughts and deepest condolences go out to his wife, Mary, his children, entire family members, and the entire nation during this difficult time,” leads the statement.

Mary Chilima, wife to the departed Vice President mourns at Kamuzu International Airport during the arrival of the remains of Chilima and nine others from Mzimba. Picture curtsey of Malawi News Agency

HRDC has also sent heartfelt condolences to the families of all other passengers who have perished following the plane crash and has since called for an immediate and thorough investigation into the tragedy to understand the cause.

“Today is a dark and sorrowful day for Malawi. We pray that the souls of our fellow countrymen and women rest in eternal peace. May the legacy of Vice President Dr. Chilima continue to inspire us all to serve our country with unwavering loyalty, commitment, and patriotism,” reads the statement.

The entourage included former First Lady Shanil Dzimbiri, Lucas Kapheni, Chisomo Chimaneni, Dan Kanyemba, Abdul Lapukeni, Colonel Sambalopa, Major Selemani, and Major Aidin.

The wreckage of the plane which went missing Monday morning was found Tuesday afternoon at Nthungwa Hill within the Chikangawa Forest.

Sosten Mpinganjira

Sosten Mpinganjira is a news reporter with a track record of delivering timely and accurate news stories. With vast experience working with renowned news electronic, press, and online outlets, he has honed his reporting skills and has a deep understanding of the media landscape. He has a knack for delivering breaking news with accuracy and insight. He is dedicated to keeping his readers informed about current events and trends that shape our world.

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