A Malawian staying in South Africa has expressed disappointment with the behaviour of the country’s embassy staff and Democratic Progressive Party (DDP) top officials who were sent by President Joyce Banda to make arrangements for the return to Malawi of the remains of the country’s fallen head of state Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika from South Africa.
According to an eye witness University of Pretoria Malawi Christopher Manyamba there was no official from the Malawi Embassy who was ready to take any responsibilities during the send off of the late president who died of cardiac arrest on April 5. “It was pathetic that there was no official from Malawi (not even ambassador in SA-present for the send-off at the Military chapel at 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria,” said Manyamba who explained that “It was so embarrassing as a nation when the SANDF officials came to ask -’who can we talk to in case of other essentials and protocols’, there was no-one”.
Manyamba says he however earlier noted people from the embassy and the party who had brought flowers but just put them “at the corner of the chapel” without wanting to be identified as Malawi officials responsible for the late presidents’ send off. “The second time the SANDF enquired about someone to communicate to was when they were wrapping the flag on the coffin, again these officials from the embassy and party distanced themselves and said-’those responsible were coming, until 11am when they had just to wrap the coffin with our flag, which was first wrapped the wrong way and later rectified,” he says. Manyamba says following this there was a short prayer by the Military Reverend and the SANDF slow marched the body of Mutharika to the hearse outside the hospital, from where it was driven to Waterkloof Air Force Base about 3 kilometres away.
“The whole ceremony of bringing the body of the late back to Malawi just hurt me as a Malawian, and to see even the orange government behaving this way-by not sending even a military attaché or someone from OPC to communicate with the SANDF,” said Manyamba
Manyamba says he would have felt better if “the government through the high commission would have actively got involved in the transportation of the remains of the president. His says apart from the former first lady, Mutharika’s son and daughter who joined the procession later there were only 26 people at Waterkloof Air Force Base (Pretoria), where the guard of honor ceremony was being held. Manyamba advises president Banda to be careful with the people that have pledged support for her People’s Party.
“I know that PP does not have any MPs in the 193-member parliament, but she should be careful of the pledged support from the members who are busy ditching the DPP and joining PP,” he says adding, “It’s my prayer that Her Excellency JB notes that the ‘we shall work with your government’ is a mere sign of greed and that she does not include such recycled politicians”.
President Banda has told DPP officials who have pledged to support and join her PP to wait until Mutharika is laid to rest in a dignified manner befitting a head of state. “You cant just start announcing that you have ditched the DPP through the radio,” said Banda at a press conference where she asked the aspirants to contact the party’s secretary general. Over 50 members of parliament and officials including DPP second vice president Yunus Mussa have pledge to support Banda and her PP