It was a case of who has got more cash than sheer generosity when a hoard of local politicians fluffed at every opportunity during veteran politician Gwanda Chakuamba’s burial on Friday to outsmart each in their condolence monetary contributions to the bereaved family.
The body of Chakuamba, who died on Monday was interred at his residence in Chinyanje in the area of Traditional Authority Mlolo, Nsanje, and the ceremony brought together politicians from various political parties aside from academicians, the business and corporate gurus, artists and laymen- young and old.
Per tradition, people are allowed to make various contributions including money to a bereaved family during funeral ceremony considered as a condolence tokens (Chipepeso). And on Friday it was the case of who has more money than the other when politicians made their contributions to the Chakuamba family.
Present during the burial ceremony which was dominated by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), were former President Bakili Muluzi, Peoples Party (PP) officials led by their leader Uladi Mussa and Kamlepo Kalua, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader Lazarus Chakwera and Joseph Njobvuyalema, Sidik Mia, Hophman Makande, Harry Thomson, Brown Mpinganjira.
Other faces include United Democratic Front (UDF) official and depity speaker Clement Chiwaya, DPP regional governor for the south Charles Mchacha, cabinet ministers George Chaponda who represented President Peter Mutharika, Minister Joseph Mwanamveka, Davies Katsonga, Peoples Progressive Movement (PPM) leader Mark Katsonga among other high profile faces.
It was surprising to see the director of the ceremont Captain Chiphwanya being forced, more than once, to amend his list of contributors as politicians led by President Peter Mutharika kept on changing their contributions, in a move that clearly demonstrated how hard they all tried to outsmart each.
Captain Chiphwanya was called for more than once to announce how much each politician contributed as the figures kept on changing to the amusement of the mammoth of crowd that had gathered to bid their last respect to the giant of lower Shire popularly called as Mbuya.
Mutharika led the list of contributors- dominated by politicians- with K500,000 followed by Bakili Muluzi who earlier on was announced to have contributed K250,000 but the figure was changed to K350,000 with MCP president Chakwera and Sidik Mia contributing K100,000 each – apparently Mia is said to have contributed more in unnounced figure.
Minister of Agriculture George Chaponda was forced to jump on the list after noting his colleagues’ contributions and annoucned K350,000 while UDF president and cabinet minister Atupele Muluzi- who was absent- contributed K50,000 so was former Speaker of Parliament Henry Chimunthu Banda and Mwanamveka.
Least on the list was Clement Chiwaya and the country’s Chief Spy Nicholas Dausi who contributed K20,000 each. Mark Katsonga contributed K100,000, State House cheif of staff Peter Mukhito gaveK40,000 while minister Patricia Kaliati contributed K25,000 with former Mafunde president George Mnesa and DPP governor Charles Mchacha contributed K50,000 each.
DPP cadets led by Ndirande Malabada parliamentarian Aaron Sangala, who was close ally of Chakuamba, and regional governor in their party colors dominated the funeral proceedings as they jumped on every opportunity to control the affairs of the day.
While there were a few UDF supporters in party colors it was MCP supporters who failed to attend the burial ceremony in their party colors with only a few led by Mai Dinala came dressed in party cloth.
The mammoth of the crowd that gathered at Chakuamba’s residence clearly demonstrates what a political leader he was with every eulogy affirming he was a nationalist.
Chakuamba, the man who stamped a unique political chapter in the country, died aged 82, and would be remembered by as a nationalist who played a significant role during the struggle for independence in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
He died on Monday (24th October, 2016) while receiving treatment at Blantyre Adventist Hospital (BAH) where he was admitted on October 13th. He succumbed to a long battle with heart complications.
Chakwera in his euology said the death of Gwanda Chakuamba is a loss to the country.
He described Chakuamba as a serious and passionate politician who vigorously pursued what he believed in and thanked government for according Chakuamba a funeral of military honour.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :