Malawi govt angers Burundi community for burying their kinsman without knowledge of family

Burundian Community in Malawi has demanded explanation from the host  government on why authorities at the Ministry of Health and Lilongwe City Council buried a Canadian of Burundian origin – Willy Léonard Niyomwungere – without the knowledge of the community and the family.

Magambi: Burundian community concerned that there was no dignity for Niyomwungere
Canadian of Burundian origin Willy Léonard Niyomwungere was the second recorded death of Covid-19 in Malawi

Niyomwungere, who was aged 45, died of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in Lilongwe last week barely a few days after jetting into the country to see his wife.

He was the second to die of of the virus  in Malawi after a 51-year-old Malawian of Indian origin in Blantyre some days earlier.

Refuge rights activist and executive member of the Burundian Community in Malawi, Innocent Magambi, told Nyasa Times in an exclusive interview that they were disappointed with the decision the Malawi Government had taken to bury Niyomwungere without notifying his family and the community both in Malawi and Canada where the deceased was working.

“We have presented our concerns to the Ministry of Health because as a human being and an artist who was well-known and loved in Burundi and also a citizen of Canada, we were disappointed that the Ministry of Health decided to bury him without  informing the country of Burundi, Canada or even family because he had a passport. He could be traced. So, we are concerned that none of those were contacted or told before this decision [to bury him] was taken,” said Magambi.

He said it took the Burundian Community in Malawi to seek information from the authorities regarding the gravesite where the remains of their kinsman had been interred.

“We are concerned that there was no dignity,” added Magambi, who is also the executive director of There Is Hope – an organization that fights for the rights and welfare of refugees in Malawi.

He said Community would consider asked the Malawi Government to allow them exhume his body so that he is accorded proper burial in in Canada where he was resident and naturalized.

However, Magambi admitted that they could be risking their own lives should they be given that freedom.

“That’s why we are very much concerned that the Malawi Government took the decision to bury him without consulting us. Otherwise, we could have found alternative means to repatriate his body to Canada. Niyomwungere was a man who had everything, including life insurance. We believe that could have covered the cost of repatriating his remains to Cananda,” he said.

Officials from the Ministry of Health and Lilongwe City Council said they were locked in meetings to plan for the impending lockdown when Nyasa Times sought to get their comment on the matter.

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Nabanda
10 months ago

Mr Magambi should insist for postmortem to findout what was the cause of the death, we understand he died of HIV, not covid19

Nasilotià
Nasilotià
10 months ago

The best place to get respect is your home go back to Burundi

Jobe
Jobe
10 months ago

Why can’t the government give back the remains by exhuming them?

BigMan
BigMan
10 months ago

Vuto la ku Malawi, poor copy and paste. Zero innovation, no originality, we cant even plan and implement a lock down properly. There is absolutely ZERO need to bury a person like a dog when they know the person has his family here and is not Joe Public or Jane Doe.

Save us the Xenophobic crap as well, are you busy copy and pasting the xenophobia in South Africa too? Shame on you for the insensitive remarks. A human being has died, doesnt matter where he is from.

Moya
Moya
10 months ago

I see so much hate for our fellow Africans, so if they bury your relatives who has covid (God forbid) without your knowledge I hope you will look at it the same and clap on the health and city’s decision. I personally feel for burundian families, the right thing was for health officials to inform them of the decision to bury him soon and some of his friends and family under covid funeral guidelines could have either witnessed the burial and give him an honorable send off i.e with prayers, a good coffin and probably record the video for other… Read more »

Chisasula
Chisasula
10 months ago

There are more than 5 million Malawian’s living outside Malawi. The majority are in Zimbabwe and RSA. Are you saying they have no rights because they are foreigners in those countries. I have noticed one trend with Nyasa times of late. No positive comments. Something is definitely not right.

Joseph Banda
Joseph Banda
10 months ago

Shaaaa who is this IDIOT to be little Malawi. This is Malawi and not Burundi. We understand you have your man busy destroying and he cheated you. From Canada, why did he come to Malawi?

Pop Plume
Pop Plume
10 months ago

In new york they r burying people in mass graves, noone allowed to attend, not even a hospital visit. In london recently an 11 year old was buried without family within 24 hours. And a Lady in dublin watched her husbads funeral from a window.This is an epidermic. Cross contamination has to be avoided at all costs.I doubt Canada would have thought it is a wise idea to repatriate a covid victim let alone Burundi when very little is know about this disease. I know death is a sensitive subject. Govt just need to ask the Burundi folk to understand… Read more »

BigMan
BigMan
10 months ago
Reply to  Pop Plume

The issue is nobody was informed, you dont think the family should have been told that your wife, husband, father etc… has died and we will proceed to bury him ourselves because of …….

Kangaude Mukhonde
Kangaude Mukhonde
10 months ago

I think it’s time they leave for their home country nkhondo inatha.

Munthu mulala
10 months ago

Ndipoditu aaaah

Anatero
Anatero
10 months ago
Reply to  Munthu mulala

Akukakamila chani kuno

kishobeh
10 months ago

True they must go atikwana how refugees want to kill us in that why

Mauanga
Mauanga
10 months ago

Really,you are even now excutives in country.
Why not trying those rights back home in Burundi.Time to go home please.

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