Malawi President Dr. Joyce Banda on Tuesday led thousands of mourners from all walks of life in burying Senior Chief Chapananga of Chikhwawa who died on March 1, 2013 at Mwaiwathu Private Hospital after a long illness.
Apart from his traditional leadership role in his area, the fallen chief was also Vice Chairperson of the Presidential Initiative on Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood, a President Banda’s brainchild to combat infant and maternal mortality through the provision of modern antenatal services and civic education.
In her eulogy at Chief Chapananga’s Headquarters, President Banda hailed the fallen traditional leader as a “true friend” not only to his subjects, but the entire nation.
“He was a true friend to me, personally; he was my brother. I had known him for a very long time. I could not help coming here to bury him today. I can attest to his commitment to help in the improvement of the people’s lives.
“When I became Head of State, Senior Chief Chapananga was one of the first traditional leaders to avail themselves when I proposed that we needed a Chief’s committee to champion issues of Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood in Malawi. He has died while serving as Vice Chair of that committee, which is chaired by Chief Kwataine of Ntcheu,” said Dr. Banda.
She said the people of Chikhwawa had lost a hero and father figure who was always a “go-to-man” on various traditional, custom and developmental issues. The President advised the bereaved family and all the subjects that while they mourned the Senior Chief, perhaps it was also a good moment to reflect and celebrate the rich and fruitful life that the chief lived and draw lessons on how “to live our own lives”.
The President advised the royal family and all stakeholders to ensure that the succession process is orderly to avoid succession wrangles that often emerge during times like these.
A representative of the bereaved family, Chaswa Banda, expressed gratitude to the Head of State for her assistance, both financial and material, during the illness of the Senior Chief until the time he passed on.
“The President made sure that our chief gets expert medical attention to survive but God always has a plan,” Banda said.
According to Maganizo Petro, another representative of the bereaved family, the late chief was born Lucius Kalima Chapananga on June 17, 1957 at Lundu Village. He became Senior Chief on October 4, 2005.
Other speakers at the burial ceremony included Local Government Minister, Grace Maseko, parliamentarian for the area, John Zingale and Traditional Authority Maseya.
Funeral prayers by the Seventh Day Adventist Church, to which the late Senior Chief belonged, were led by Pastor Felix Kasoti of Chapananga District Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Leader of the opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) Atupele Muluzi attended the ceremony.
Conspicuously missing was Peter Mutharika, leader of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), John Tembo of MCP and other smaller opposition parties.
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