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Malawi Mourns VP Chilima Amid Protests And Heavy Security

MALAWIANS gathered on Monday to mourn Vice President Saulos Klaus Chilima, who was laid to rest in his home village of Nsipe in the district of Ntcheu, approximately 160 km (100 miles) southeast of the capital, Lilongwe. The sombre event was marked by heavy security and protests from local residents angered by the government’s response to the plane crash that claimed Chilima’s life and the lives of eight others last week.

Tensions flared the evening before the funeral as crowds from Chilima’s home district launched protests, accusing officials of a delayed search and rescue mission following the military plane’s disappearance. Protesters blockaded roads and threw stones at vehicles in the funeral cortege.


Tragedy struck further on Sunday evening when a car traveling on the main road crashed into the crowd, resulting in four fatalities and over a dozen injuries, according to police reports.

President Lazarus Chakwera, who attended the burial on Monday, has called for an independent investigation into the plane crash and the government’s response. However, he did not address the mourners during the ceremony.

Political and religious leaders at the funeral urged for calm and peace in memory of the late Vice President. ‘Let’s remember the Vice President by observing peace and maintaining calm, which he always preached,’ said Archbishop Thomas Msusa of the Blantyre Archdiocese, one of the officiating clergy.

Chilima, 51, led the United Transformation Movement party and was a key figure in the ruling Tonse Alliance, partnering with President Chakwera in the 2020 election victory. However, relations between the two had become strained ahead of the 2025 presidential election, where Chilima was expected to challenge Chakwera.

In 2022, Chilima was arrested on graft allegations, but a court dropped the charges last month after the director of public prosecutions filed a notice to discontinue the case. Chilima had consistently denied any wrongdoing.

As Malawi mourns the loss of its Vice President, the calls for an investigation into the crash and the government’s actions highlight ongoing political tensions and the demand for accountability.

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