Malawi Government says four foreign heads of state and government have so far confirmed their attendance during the burial of late President Bingu wa Mutharika.
The remains of Malawi’s departed leader will be interred with full military honours on April 23 at what would have been his retirement home from 2014, Ndata Farm in his home district, Thyolo.
Chairman of the organizing committee of the state funeral Henry Mussa said so far Presidents of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, Mozambique’s Armado Emilio Guebuza, Hifikepunya Pohamba of Namibia and Benin’s Dr Thomas Yayi Boni who is also the African Union (AU) current Chairperson, have confirmed their attendance.
“But we are expecting more presidents because we still have a few more days before the actual burial day which is April 23,” said Mussa.
Since the death of Mutharika on April 5, several heads of state and government and distinguished figures across the world have been sending their condolence messages while also congratulating President Joyce Banda on her ascending to the country’s highest office.
Mutharika died at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe after suffering a cardiac arrest but his body was swiftly airlifted to South Africa as members of the then ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) attempted a leadership coup- to block Banda from taking over power- which they failed.
The former president’s remains were repatriated last Saturday, April 14, by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) from the Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria on a South African Air Force (SAAF) plane offered by that country’s President Jacob Zuma.
Meanwhile, public viewing of Mutharika’s body started Monday morning at the new Parliament Building in the capital Lilongwe before it is taken to Mzuzu, then Blantyre and finally his final resting place in Thyolo.
On Saturday, Malawi President Madame Joyce Banda, her husband retired Chief Justice Richard Banda and Vice President Khumbo Kachali led Malawians in paying their last respects to the fallen dictator, who died aged 78, at the New State House where his body lied in state for two days.