Mutharika buried after emotional farewell, Malawi moves on

Malawi’s late president Bingu wa Mutharika has been buried at his sprawling Ndata farm in southern Malawi tea growing district of Thyolo.

At 16:38 on Monday the casket with  carried the remains of Mutharika was lowered to his final resting place next to his first wife Ethel who died in 2007 in a huge white marble edifice  ‘Mpumulo wa Bata’ dubbed the Taj Mahal.

A  21-gun salute boomed as his  body was carried into the  mausoleum after travelling on a two-gun artillery, with motorcycle outriders, from his farm mansion to Mpumulo wa Bata where the Catholic church led by Bishop Tarciscius Ziyaye conducted a requiem mass.

Mutharika, died at 78 of a heart attack of April 5.

African leaders including Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Mwai Kibaki of Kenya and Armando Guebuza of Mozambique were among the heads of state at burial of Mutharika.

New Malawian President Joyce Banda, who led the mourners, said she would try to build on her predecessor’s record of economic growth.

She made an emotional appeal to Malawians to disregard all the ills inflicted upon them by late Mutharika and forge ahead for the betterment of Malawi.

“President Mutharika spent most of his life in dedication to making Malawi a better country, and on his passing, I want to pledge that I will do all my best to indeed follow what he wanted to achieve: To move this country from poverty to prosperity,” said Her Excellency Banda.

President Banda evoked her predecessor’s favourite mantra “Malawi is not a poor country but Malawians are poor”.

Mozambique leader Guebuza, speaking on behalf of the visiting leaders, described Mutharika as a career economist who had contributed to the development of the world for working with the World Bank, the Economic Commission for Africa and the Common Market for the Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

“The tragedy that befell this great country, SADC and the continent defies description,” he said.

Peter Mutharika who has inherited the leadership of his brother’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), praised his sibling as an “extremely wonderful human being and great man”.

“Although he made mistakes of judgement, he made them not out of evil,” he told the crowd which included supporters wearing slogans such as “100% Bingu” and “Bingu …rest in peace”.

Mutharika was elected president of Malawi in 2004 and won re-election in 2009.

Beauty mourners

African leaders at the funeral:: Photos credit --Samuel Chiwaka

Mugabe: At the funeral of Mutharika

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