Ngolongoliwa laid to rest

The body of Lhomwe Paramount Chief Ngolongoliwa was laid to rest on Wednesday at his Mtundawosema headquarters in Thyolo.

Thousands of people from different parts of the country descended on the village tucked away in macadamia bushes to witness the last journey of the fallen traditional leader, who during the infamous blood suckers saga two years ago, led efforts to bring back sanity in the Lhomwe belt.

The chief, born Laelo Costa Juma, was buried with military honours at the ceremony.

In his death, Ngolongoliwa united people from all walks of life as, apart from President Peter Mutharika, the ceremony was also attended by former president Bakili Muluzi, senior government officials, a horde of faith leaders, and Mulhako wa Alhomwecultural group members.

Before the body was interred at exactly 2.43pm, Mulhako wa Alhomwe women sprinkled maize flour around the grave to emphasise that it was the resting place of a custodian of culture. Soon after, Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers fired a three-gun salute to cap a ceremony that lasted about three hours.

Ngolongoliwa’s widow being escorted to the ground for the funeral service

A team of clergymen from various churches, including the Malawi Assemblies of God where he initially belonged, presided over the solemn ceremony.

Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Ben Phiri said the President was too grief-stricken to speak and delegated Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development KondwaniNankhumwa.

In his remarks, Nankhumwa urged Lhomwe chiefs to quickly identify another chief to be conferred the status of Paramount Chief.

Conspicuously missing during the ceremony was Traditional Authority Chimaliro, who openly accused Ngolongoliwa of taking part of his jurisdiction.

The courtyard in which the funeral ceremony took place had one main tent where the President sat flanked by Vice-President Everton Chimulirenji, senior government officials, including Cabinet ministers and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials.

Traditional leaders such as Paramount Chief Lundu, Senior Chief Lukwa and Ngoni traditional leaders whose list included Inkosi ya Makhosi M’mbelwa V and Inkosi ya Makhosi Gomani V.

Paramount Chief Ngolongoliwa, who was born in 1950, died on Sunday of pneumonia. He also made several medical trips to India.

He is survived by a wife and 16 children.                He was the founder and bishop of Nkumbila Independent Assemblies of God Church and a renowned active member of the MulhakowaAlomwe cultural group.

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