Local Government and Rural Development Minister Ben Phiri  has questioned the absence of major political leaders at the burial of the Late Paramount Chief Ngolongoliwa in Thyolo on Wednesday.

The late Lomwe Chief died on Sunday at Mwaiwathu Private Hospital in Blantyre after a long illness.

Phiri noted that despite coming to Ngolongoliwa’s area to canvass for votes in readiness for the May 21 polls, it was disheartening to note that they decided to abscond the burial ceremony of the Paramount Chief.
He noted that the Lhomwe chief just like his subjects are generally good people who coexist with other tribes as evidenced by intermarriages.
UTM Director of Publicity Chidanti-Malunga noted that considering that Paramount Ngongoliwa is gone, it is only proper to let his soul rest in peace.
He emphasised that it is not good practice to politicize his death and burial ceremony.
Asked if an invitation was given to the UTM President Saulos Chilima to attend the burial ceremony, the party’s publicist stated that he doesn’t think it was extended to him.
He further explained their leader is not under any obligation to attend each and every funeral which happens.
Malunga pointed out that the fact that Chilima put a condolence message towards Ngolongoliwa’s demise suffices.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Publicity Secretary Reverend Maurice Munthali, dismissed Mulli’s claims arguing that the absence of the party’s leadership doesn’t mean that they are not concerned.
He said MCP is actually grieved over the loss of a leader who was not only for the Lhomwe’s but Malawi as a whole, and that his quick rise to that of paramount indicated the level of trust by the appointing authority.
Munthali spoke against the tendency of politicising death adding that even though the party leadership wasn’t there, there were Mcp members who graced the burial ceremony.
“During campaign time, it was not a condition that if you vote for us we will attend every funeral.
“We will all die and dying should not be connected to campaign,” Munthali said.
Leston Mulli a businessman also condemned those who spoke ill of the late Lhomwe chief to the point of rejoicing over his death.
President Mutharika joined thousands of people from all walks of life who graced the burial which was accorded military honors.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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