Tributes have been pouring in for former vice-president Justin Chimera Malewezi who died on Saturday night in Lilongwe aged 78 with President Lazarus Chakwera, vice-president Saulos Chilima, former president Bakili Muluzi, Peter Mutharika and Joyce Banda all describing him as a man who dedicated his life to serve the country diligently.
Malewezi served as the Vice-President for president Bakili Muluzi twice as well as the Secretary for the President and Cabinet during former President, late Ngwazi Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda.
President Chakwera said he was heartbroken to lean about Malewezi’s death.
Said Chakwera: “Dr Malewezi was one of the pioneers who fought for the democracy we enjoy today. He dedicated his entire life to nation building, through the various offices he held in government including that of Secretary to the president and eventually a vice-president of the Republic.”
Former president Muluzi, under whom malewezi served as vice-president from 1994 to 2004, said he was a a calm, honest man and that Malawi has lost a mine of wisdom.
“It is a shock to me because he is a man I worked with very closely indeed. He was very calm, excellent and intelligent, and dedicated to whatever he wanted to do.”
Civil rights leader MacDonald Sembereka said: “We’ve lost a gentle soul — heaven has gained. Light eternal should shine upon him.”
All these tributes are pouring in for Malewezi as deep nolstagia for the man he was — a distinguished Civil Service career which brought him to the highest office of Secretary to the President and Cabinet; a Vice-President (for two consecutive terms from 1994 to 2004) and a Member of Parliament for Ntchisi North Constituency.
And in his indistinct retirement, he committed his time to private consultancy advising governments that included Tanzania, Ghana and Lesotho on education and public sector development.
Activist Faustace Chirwa said Malewezi was a man “of very few words but decisive” and that if he had been “given the chance he would have made the best President this country would have had”.
“He was a man of high sense of integrity and responsibility. His contributions to Malawi civil services will be highly remembered — may his soul forever rest in eternal peace.”
Business guru, Jimmy Koreria Mpatsa said he was “a man of immense integrity and wisdom [but] he may be gone but will forever remain in our hearts. He was a thoughtful leader — a giant has fallen.”
Dawn Gowa Nyasulu believes Justin Chimera Malewezi could be among the “very, very few Malawian politicians who rose to top political positions but retired without leaving a stinking trail”.
UDF president Atupele Muluzi — whose father, Bakili took Malewezi under his fold as running mate against Kamuzu Banda in 1993, said the former Vice-President “will be remembered for his exceptional contribution in laying the political and economic foundation of our mother Malawi”.
“Malawi has lost a fountain of wisdom, a fine politician and technocrat of our times.”
Born on December 23, 1943 from a school teacher father, Malewezi attained his Cambridge School Certificate at Robert Blake Secondary School in Dowa before graduating with his first degree at Columbia University in the United States of America in 1967.
He started his public service life as a science teacher before rising to the post of headmaster and chief education officer in 1976 from which he rose to become permanent secretary in various ministries — including education and health.
A few years in his vice-presidency, Malewezi had to undergo a kidney transplant in Germany.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :