Malawi President Peter Mutharika on Wednesday sent condolences to Zambia at the death of president Michael Sata, but stressed it believed there would be a peaceful political transition in the African nation.
In a letter sent to Zambia government, Mutharika said he learnt with “deep sense of shock and profound sadness” the death of Sata.
“On behalf of the Malawi Government and indeed on my own behalf, I hereby express my sincere condolences and sympathies to Your Excellency, Government and people of the Republic of Zambia and the bereaved family, during this period of grief,” said Mutharika.
The Malawi leader said Sata will be fondly remembered by the African continent as a fearless freedom fighter, reformer, and one of the architects of liberation struggle that led to the independence of Zambia and many other countries.
“He will be solely missed by all those who knew him for the ideals that he firmly stood for. The Malawi people are profoundly sorry for the loss of a true son of Zambia who worked tirelessly to promote peace and stability in SADC and COMESA regional blocs, and the AU as a whole. His great sense of humour will be missed by the SADC family,” reads the letter in part..
Malawi’s former president Bakili Muluzi, who was a close ally of Sata also offered condolences to Sata family and the people of Zambia.
“The official condolence message from Malawi has already been communicated by the Head of State, Proffessor Peter Mutharika. I join the Malawi President and the people of Malawi to mourn Sata, the King Cobra as he was fondly called.
“Our sympathies are with the president’s family and with the people of Zambia during this time of mourning,” said Muluzi.
He underscored the commanding role the late Zambian leader played in the public life of his country over three decades;, the holder of several ministerial positions in the 1990s and as the main opposition leader, and finally as head of state.
Sata died only days after Zambia celebrated half a century of independence.
Even though officials had long denied that he was sick, Sata, 77, died Tuesday while undergoing treatment in London’s private King Edward VII hospital for an unspecified illness, the Zambian government reported.
- Michael Chilufya Sata was born in 1937 in Mpika, Northern Province. President Sata was a significant figure in Zambian politics for more than 20 years.
- The former trade unionist defected from Kenneth Kaunda’s United National Independence Party (UNIP) in 1990 to join the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD), and later became Minister for Local Government (1991), Minister of Labor (1993), and Minister of Health (1994) under President Frederick Chiluba.
- He was elected president in September 2011 under his own party, the Patriotic Front.