Malawians view Mutharika’s body

Malawians Monday started body viewing of Bingu wa Mutharika, the country’s late president, who died on April 5.

Army soldiers carried Mutharika’s casket, draped in a Malawian flag, into Parliament chamber in the capital Lilongwe for public viewing of the body.

Clad in a mixture of grey and black dress and her trademark scarf; sombre looking and grief-stricken Malawi’s President Joyce Banda entered at the Parliament Buildings at exactly 09:12 am to lead members of the general public in viewing the body.

Widow Callista Mutharika paying last respects

President Banda arrived in the company of the First Gentleman, retired Chief Justice Richard Banda, Vice President Khumbo Kachali, the Army Commander and Inspector General of Police.

They joined the former First Lady and widow Callista Mutharika, the late President’s brother, Professor Peter Mutharika.

The function started with a prayer by Reverend Billy Gama, late Mutharika’s advisor on Religious Affairs.

Faith leaders of various denominations including CCAP, Muslims and Catholics, among others offered eulogies and prayers.

President Banda and First Gentleman led Malawians  in paying respect to the fallen leader.

Then it was the turn of former first lady Callista Mutharika, the Vice President Kachali followed by Mutharika’s brother  Peter, Speaker Chimunthu Banda  and wife, Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo, chief secretary of civil service Bright Msaka in that order.

Others who viewed the body included minister Henry Mussa who is chairman of the funeral committee and his wife Agrina who is Malawi’s ambassador to South Africa, then ministers and their deputies.

Army General Henry Odillo, Police chief Loti Dzonzi, DPP secretary general Wakuda Kamanga, former presidential spokesman Hetherwick Ntaba and  ruling People’s Party secretary general Henry Chibwana followed in paying their respects.

MPs present were then invited to pay their last respects and then the members of the clergy.

Also viewing the body were Chief Executive Officer for Lilongwe City Assembly, Kelvin Mmangisa and the DC for Lilongwe Paul Kalilombe as the Great Angels and St Patricks Choirs were ditching the solemn choruses.

On Wednesday his body will be flown to the northern city of Mzuzu and then flown to Blantyre on Thursday to lie in state for another two days.

Mutharika’s remains will be taken to his Ndata Farm next Sunday for burial.

Widow Callista Mutharika paying last respects
At the public body viewing: President Banda, widow Callista Mutharika (in black) and Peter Mutharika. Photo by Lusubilo Sichali, Nyasa Times

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