LILONGWE—Pres Joyce Banda Monday thanked visiting heads of state and government for their assistance to Malawi as the country buried the late president Bingu wa Mutharika.
South Africa has offered the cash-strapped southern African nation which has been experiencing fuel shortages a month-long supply of the commodity. Zambia provided fuel, Mozambique did the same in addition to foodstuffs for the funeral.
"I and the people of Malawi are very thankful for this kind gesture during this hard time. I wish to therefore ask the organizing committee to ensure that all this is used for its intended purpose as the family says [it] will mourn [for] 40 days," she said at the sombre event in the tea-growing district of Thyolo where Mutharika came from.
She also praised Mutharika whom she said was her mentor. She said the man who appointed her foreign affairs minister had also taught her that Malawians weren't poor.
"He championed self belief, independence of the mind and hard work. He spent most of his life making Malawi a better place," she said.
Foreign dignitaries at the funeral included Almando Guebuza of Mozambique, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, Phamba of Namibia, representatives of the Chinese leader Hu Jintao and
representation from Angola, Benin, AU, EU and the diplomatic corps.
Mutharika was buried in the Mpumulo wa Bata (Peaceful Rest) mausoleum alongside his first wife, Ethel, who died in 2007.
Pres Banda appealed to the family to take care of Mutharika’s widow, Callista. The late president’s younger brother and foreign affairs minister, Peter, said his sister-in-law “will never walk alone” and thanked her for the “love you gave my brother.”
Born 24th February 1934, Mutharika died after suffering a heart attack on April 5.
----©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment