Malawi in tragedy over soldiers death, says Mutharika

President Peter Mutharika says Malawi is in tragedy following the death of 21 Malawi Defense Force recruits and instructors in a horrific accident that happened Thursday at Luwawa in Mzimba.

Presiddent Mutharika arrives at the funeral service at Kamuzu Barracks- Photo by Stanely Makuti, Mana

Some of the mourners – Photo by Stanely Makuti, Mana

The funeral service at Kamuzu Barracks- Photo by Stanely Makuti, Mana

Some of the mourners – Photo by Stanely Makuti, Mana

Grief at the funeral service at Kamuzu Barracks- Photo by Stanely Makuti, Mana

Remains of 15 of the soldiers who were from the central and southern parts of Malawi were on Friday taken to the MDF headquarters Kamuzu Barracks in Lilongwe en route to their respective homes for burial.

Most of the deceased were recruits who had just finished their final exercises and maneuvers and were heading back to Malawi Armed Forces College (MAFCO) in Salima where they were expected to undergo a pass out ceremony in three weeks time before being deployed to designated units.

A somber mood engulfed the Wilson Court at the barracks. Tears from wailing mothers, brothers and sisters were a sorry sight to see as no one could comprehend what they were witnessing.

Families and friends of the fallen soldiers on the day experienced the worst nightmare of their lives when instead of witnessing the scheduled passing out ceremony for their children; the world crushed onto them as they collected the remains of their children for burial, together with all the hopes they had in them.

The seemingly heartbroken Mutharika, who is also commander in chief of the MDF said the families of the deceased, the MDF and the country as a whole has experienced a tragedy not easy to digest.

“Losing one person brings about huge grievances, but losing 21 people at the same time is difficult to comprehend. We hear of grave disasters that befall other countries every day. But never in my life did I think of this happening in Malawi.

“This is a national tragedy and the nation is in mourning. These are people who have committed their lives to serve and protect the nation but the nation has lost them. Let us come together through prayer in this difficult time,” said Mutharika.

Mutharika who went to pay his last respects to his fallen troops said memories of the fallen soldiers will always remain in the memories of every Malawian.

He subsequently called upon all Malawians to observe all safety requirements when travelling on the roads of Malawi.

“Let us not over speed. Let us make sure that the vehicles we are travelling in are roadworthy in all aspects from brakes to tyres because many of the accidents that are happening on our roads are due to unsafe vehicles,” said Mutharika in his brief speech.

Lieutenant General Clement Namangale who is acting defense force commander in his remarks said the MDF has never in recent times experienced such a devastating lost.

He said the lost soldiers who were given a minute silence in honor of their memories were set to add value to the defense force.

“When we conduct our trainings, you cannot compare them to any other professions. Recruits have to endure extensive trainings in order to put on a uniform.

“That is why in the MDF, we highly value a soldier. We were happy to be adding on to the numbers of soldiers we have but before they even started their work; we have lost them together with very experienced instructors.

“The Last Post (trumpet) that was played here is played in battle during evening times as the sun is setting. But we have played it here to show that a dark shadow has fallen over us,” said Namamgale.

He subsequently said the MDF would observe three days of mourning during which all of their flags will be at half mast.

Several government departments including the ministry of health and the department of disaster management (DODMA) have come together to assist the MDF in this trying time.

The office of the President and cabinet has helped the families of the deceased with K300 000 each while DODMA which is under vice president Chilima has provided each family with K200 000. Several other departments have made monitory contributions.

In attendance of the ceremony were minister of information and communications Technology Nicholas Dausi, Home Affairs minister, Cecilia Chazama, minister of Agriculture and water development Joseph Mwanamvekha among others.

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Keen Observer
Guest

Sad indeed.

Vivi
Guest
Its really a great tragedy not only on MDF but Malawi as a Nation. Please BWANA Munthalika there should be an independent investigation which should involve more ununiform men so that the nation will know that the new MDF administration is a failure. Reports getting us say 1. that before Spoon left for South Africa he visited the training field and was angry with the performance and irregularities that were there. But he went back and left the country even after hearing about the tragedy he could not cancel and rush back home 2. That they started the training without… Read more »
masoambeta
Guest

Results of accepting low standards. Construct better roads and make rigorous check on conditions of vehicles. Driving tests should be improved

ichocho
Guest

so sad and shocking may their souls rest in peace

Nganiza Muthulika
Guest
Its a tragidy of high grade. Young ambition young men who dreamed to serve Malawi dies before start of thei job. President says in hos speach. People should travel in roadworth vehicles. Vehicles should have good brakes. I think the president knows very little about military vehicles. Look At their tracks. Iam sure they are from colonial time. On my way to Lilongwe from Nkata Bay lake shore road, met military lorry full of soldiers. The road from Salima there is the worste tree bridge. I was in a small car. I have never been afraid than day to pass… Read more »
Hlabezulu Ngonoonda
Guest
It is not true that the vehicles are from colonial times. Before the imposing of Tata vehicles on these service men by “yellow” politicians against their will many years back, these guys used trucks designed in UK at the outset with protective measures suiting delivery of personnel and cargo. Mostly were Bedford vehicles of different models. The most popular models that have been in service for many years with less accidents and isolated fatalities are the Bedford RL; Bedford TK; Bedford MK; and Bedford TM. Supplementing these were Mercedes–Benz trucks; Land Rovers; Toyota Land Cruisers; and a series of articulated… Read more »
Douglas Ndindi
Guest

It will take some of us a very long time to accept this loss as a fact, especially considering that we knew some of the deceased soldiers. One of them was with us here at Chilumba a few months ago, and we have been expecting him to come back shortly. The thought that he will not come is not easy for us to digest. May the Lord God Almighty grant these brave sons and daughters a place at His right hand. May His hand hover over Malawi at this difficult time.

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