Malawi Government has declared next Monday, April 23, as a public holiday in order for the people to bury late President Bingu wa Mutharika.
The remains of Mutharika, who died on April 5th after suffering a cardiac arrest, will be interred on the day at his Ndata Farm in Thyolo district.
The Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) said in a statement, government has declared a public holiday in order to afford as many Malawians as possible an opportunity to attend the burial ceremony which will also be beamed live on the public broadcaster (MBC TV and Radio) and also aired live on Zodiak radio and internet streaming.
The statement which has been signed by the Chief Secretary in OPC, Bright Msaka said the declaration is also in keeping the wish and commitment of President Joyce Banda that the country must accord the former Malawian leader a dignified state funeral.
President Banda announced a 30-day national mourning period from April 7 when government officially announced Mutharika’s death and the same day she was also sworn-in as the country’s president.
And Monday this week, some pupils across the country failed to report for classes as the third school term opened following wide spread rumours that the school holiday had been extended in order to give people Malawians time to mourn their former leader.
Meanwhile, Mzuzu city and the entire Northern Region finally bid farewell to the former leader after his body lied in state for two days at the Mzuzu State Lodge.
Thousands of people wearing somber faces lined up the road from Mzuzu State Lodge to Mzuzu Airport to pay their last homage to Mutharika who died aged 78 after ruling Malawi for eight years.
Mutharika’s body has since been airlifted to Blantyre where it will lie in state at Sanjika Palace to give an opportunity to residents of Blantyre and the surrounding areas in the region to bid farewell to the former president.