Families recount ordeal in DPP celebration tragedy

Families of three children that died in Thyolo on Monday while celebrating the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) election win have said they are devastated with the deaths.

Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) declared President Peter Mutharika as winner of the May 21 Tripartite Elections on Monday.

Chilenje (C) speaks during the visit

The children—Rachel Dyson, 9; Felix Steven,12; and Chikumbutso Kapesi,12–had joined the group of celebrants on their streets in Thyolo when a speeding minibus rammed into them. They were all buried on Tuesday at their parents’ respective home villages.

Speaking in an interview on Wednesday when Mulhako wa Alhomwe members went to console the families at Mwenyemuno Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Chikumbu in Mulanje, Leonard Kamwana Chilenje, Rachel’s grandfather, said the girl’s death has left the family devastated.

The retired civil servant, who stayed with Rachel in Thyolo, said he got a call that his grandchild, who was in Standard Three at Nachipere Primary Schools in the district, had been hit by a minibus.

“It is painful to lose a child in that way, but there was nothing I could do,” Chilenje said.

Leo Kapesi, from Lobeni Village also in T/A Chikumbu but lives in Thyolo  and was father to Chikumbutso, was also in deep sorrow.

He said his son was initially not rushed to the hospital with the other two.

Said Kapesi: “After searching the accident scene, people found him struggling to breathe and they rushed him to hospital. Unfortunately, he died. He was the first born of my two children.”

Speaking when he consoled the two families, Mulhako wa Alhomwe chief executive officer Muchanankhwaye Mpulula said the deaths affected them as they did not expect the celebration to turn tragic.

“We ask God to give you comfort and ease the pain that you are in,” he said.

The bereaved families were each given K50 000 as condolence. The group said they would visit the third family in due course.

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