President Lazarus Chakwera yesterday paid his last respects to two Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers who died in an accident involving a car on his motorcade which overturned near HHI in Blantyre on Monday afternoon.
The deceased are Corporal Sherriff Maulana and Corporal Gift Kachedwa of the Military Police Battalion based at Kamuzu Barracks in Lilongwe.
Chakwera, dressed in a dark-blue suit, white shirt and red necktie, arrived at Kamuzu University of Health Science mortuary in Blantyre at exactly 2.17pm.
Wearing a somber face, the President, who is also Commander in-Chief of the MDF, moved slowly as he entered the mortuary premises where scores of MDF soldiers had gathered to pay their last respects.
Director of ceremonies, the Reverend Major Andrew Kamponda welcomed him as he joined the soldiers in mourning the death of their colleagues.
Said Kamponda: “We thank you, Your Excellency, for joining us here to pay your last respects to our colleagues. Your Excellency, you may proceed to the mortuary for the viewing.”
At exactly 2.21pm, Chakwera entered the mortuary. He was later seen getting out shaking his head in sorrow.
After the President’s departure, MDF soldiers proceeded with the funeral ceremony before carrying the bodies to Lilongwe where they are expected to be laid to rest.
In an interview last evening, MDF acting public information officer Emmanuel Mlelemba said Maulana was expected to be buried last night while Kachedwa is expected to be buried today.
He said: “Burial for one
of the deceased will take place today [yesterday] upon arrival because of his religion and for the other the burial is tomorrow [today].”
Of the nine injured soldiers who were admitted to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Mlelemba said two were discharged yesterday while . the others were still in hospital but in stable condition
On the cause of the accident, National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera in an interview said a preliminary report indicates that upon arrival at Blantyre Girls Primary School, the driver of the MDF vehicle failed to negotiate a right bend and he lost control of the vehicle.
He said: “The vehicle swerved to the extreme nearside where it hit the Grace Bandawe Conference Centre brick fence. But this is a preliminary report. A full report will have more details.”
In December 2014, nine police officers died in a horrific road accident at Chiendausiku in Balaka enroute from Zomba to join former president Peter Mutharika’s convoy from Lilongwe to Machinga for the installation of Traditional Authority Kapoloma.
In June last year, Vice- President Saulos Chilima cancelled his whistle-stop campaign rallies in Ntcheu following an accident involving about 10 police officers on his campaign trail.