Former Cabinet minister Patrick Mbewe, one of the founders of the United Democratic Front (UDF), has been remembered at a funeral mass in Blantyre as a kind , principles and much-loved humble man.
Scores of mourners attended the service at the Catholic Institute (CI) Parish in Blantyre on Tuesday to pay their last respects to the fallen former Minister of State, under the administration of Bakili Muluzi.
He died on Saturday at Blantyre Adventist Hospital after a long illness.
The funeral mass was celebrated Vicar General in the Archdiocese of Blantyre, Father Boniface Tamani, alongside other priests like Fr. George Buleya, Vice Chancellor of the Catholic University.
Father Tamani said Mbewe was a staunch Catholic, and apart from sharing his faith, he supported the church financially in many aspects.
“He dedicated his life to God. He was always there for the Church. May be some of you are not aware that this humble man lying before us helped in the renovations of the Archbishop’s residence,” he said.
Tamani said the late Mbewe using his own resources renovated some of the rooms at the Bishop’s house.
He said at first the rooms were not self-contained until the late Mbewe came to the rescue of the priests.
Tamani stressed that Blantyre Archdiocese had lost a pillar who was in forefront during big events in as far as making donations was concerned, adding that Mbewe used to buy coffins whenever the diocese lost a priest.
“He was a humble man and he knew what he was doing. I urge all of you here to emulate his example,” he added.
Father Tamani said Mbewe supported his home parish, Nguludi, and CI Parish as he resided in Sunnyside, Blantyre.
He described the late Mbewe as a hardworking man who helped in bringing democracy in the country.
“Mbewe and his colleagues during the UDF era secured our freedom as a nation. Through this man we are able to speak freely nowadays. Thank you Mr. Mbewe for the freedom that you brought to us and have a peaceful eternal rest,” he said.
The Vicar General said Mbewe was a “dedicated and principled men.
Former president Bakili Muluzi, a personal friend to Mbewe and his trusted colleague in politics, could not attend the funeral because he had just been in South Africa for routine medical check up.
However, he said he eceived the news with shock and sadness.
He described Mbewe as principled, skilled, patient, tolerant, generous and God-fearing.
“Patrick made sacrifices when we were fighting for multiparty and served this nation well when he diligently served in my Cabinet,” he said.
Speaking on Times Radio, former Cabinet minister Ziliro Chibambo said Mbewe would be remembered firever because he sacrificed his wealth for betterment of Malaiw.
“He was very kind and of the few people in the underground movement that fought for democracy. He sacrificed his personal wealth for the betterment of the nation,” Chibambo said.
The deceased’s son, Lance Mbewe, who is vice president of UDF, described his father as generous, caring, loving and wise gentleman.
During the requiem mass, his daughter recited a poem titled ‘Take me there’.
After the mass mourners lined outside CI Parish along the route to the main gate as the funeral motorcade made its way out to Mbewe’s final resting place in Tawa Estate in Chiradzulu. Burial is on Wednesday with military honours.
Mbewe was until his death co-patron of the UDF with the former president Muluzi.
During his time in politics, he served as Chiradzulu Central Constituency legislator and Cabinet minister.
He is survived by a wife, seven children and 12 grand children.
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