Malawians have poured praise on Archbishop Tarcisius Ziyaye of the Lilongwe Catholic Archdiocese who died on Monday. Many eulogized him as a patriot and an amazing shepherd.
Nyasa Times reported last week that Ziyaye was in Namibia where he was receiving treatment after being ill.
On Monday morning Episcopal Conference of Malawi secretary general Father Henry Saindi confirmed that the Archbishop had indeed been in Namibia and that is where he died.
President Lazarus Chakwera and Vice President Saulos Chillima have expressed shock at the death of Ziyaye as a loss.
The President through his official Facebook page wrote: “I have learnt with shock of the passing of Archbishop Tarcisius Ziyaye of the Archdiocese of Lilongwe. His faith in Christ, belief in humanity, and courage in pursuing justice for all have long been an inspiration to me and so many.
“My deepest condolences to his bereaved family and all the faithful who will miss him. May his soul Rest in Peace,” reads the statement from Chakwera.
Chillima, a devout Catholic who was also close to Ziyaye also mourned on the revered bishop in a tribute posted on his official Facebook page.
The vice president said he and his wife Mary were “ mortified and immobilised with deep grief” to learn the death of Ziyaye.
“You were an amazing shepherd and you sought and fought for all God’s children with utmost zeal and admonishing passion.
” You stood for the truth and defended the weak and the powerless against all earthly excesses of power and privilege,” reads part of the statement.
In his tribute, former president Bakili Muluzi, said he learned of Ziyaye death “with great sadness.”
Muluzi said: “Archbishop Ziyaye devoted his life entirely and unwaveringly to the service of the Lord and he was proclaiming the truth. We mourn him with enormous affection and deep gratitude.”
Justin Malewezi, who was vice-president to Muluzi, also described Ziyaye’s death as shocking and a loss to the nation.
Leader of opposition in Parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa also paid tribute to Ziyaye.
“I shall always respect the late Archbishop Ziyaye for his exceptional leadership in liturgical worship in the Catholic Church and his strong commitment to the ministerial formation,” Nankhumwa said.
The opposition leader said he also admired Ziyaye for his personal courage and selfless contribution towards the fight against the notorious once-party dictatorship under the Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
“Indeed, it was that courage coupled with genuine patriotism displayed by Archbishop Ziyaye in cohort with the other famous 1992 Pastoral Letter bishops that brought about political freedom and multiparty democracy in Malawi in 1993 and 1994,” said Nankhumwa.
Born on May 19, 1949, Ziyaye was ordained priest in 1977 and appointed auxiliary bishop of Dedza Diocese in 1991.
Archbishop Ziyaye, who hails from Mkanda Parish in Mchinji District was appointed Archbishop of Lilongwe in 2013.
Burial arrangements will be announced later but he is likely to be laid to rest at Likuni Parish Cemetery.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :