Bingu family begins 40-day mourning, 'to sort property'

The family of departed President Bingu wa Mutharika has today started its 40-day mourning period to honour the life of their relation who was buried on Monday, April 23, on his Ndata Farm in Thyolo District, 19 days after his death.

The family decided to have its own mourning period despite President Joyce Banda declaring a 30-day period of national mourning which ends on May 7.

According to Mutharika family member, Charles Namondwe, their 40-day mourning period will run concurrently with the one declared by government.

“After the 30-day national mourning period, as a family we will continue mourning until we finish the 40-days we have set aside,” said Namondwe, who is direct cousin of late Mutharika.

Charles Namondwe, Malawi's ambassador to China and a cousin to late Mutharika: We are mapping the way forward

He said after their mourning the family and members of the surrounding community will gather at Ndata Farm to map the way forward.

Another family member told Nyasa Times Tuesday, the family agreed to have a 40-day period of mourning to “sort out some issues including property” relating to the former president.

The controversial Malawi’s Ambassador to China, officially communicated to President Banda about the family’s wish to have a 40-day period of mourning in his eulogy on Monday during the burial ceremony of late Mutharika.

During his tribute during the ceremony, several mourners expressed disapproval of his exceedingly emotional speech when he criticized some unnamed Malawians’ reaction towards the death of their relation.

“Some people really irked us as a family…it was very unfortunate that some Malawians were busy partying and celebrating after learning about the death of our relative,” said Namondwe inviting murmuring and boos.

President Joyce Banda led thousands of Malawians and foreign dignitaries in burying the remains of Malawi’s second democratically elected president who ruled Malawi with a fist for eight years.

A few months ago, Namondwe was accused of seizing property worth millions of kwacha from the family of his late son, Washington, leaving the deceased’s wife, Josephine, and the three children in destitution.

His widowed daughter-in-law told a local paper, Namondwe, who before his appointment by late Mutharika as Malawi’s ambassador to China, served as State House chief of staff, grabbed everything from her immediately after the death of his son in 2007.

Among the items Namondwe grabbed included a truck, welding machine, land valued at over K4 million and several household items including a mere television set and radio player.

Since the incident happened, Josephine and her children have been leading a miserable life at her relatives’ house in Kalinthulo village, T/A Mphuka in Thyolo.

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