Wed, 17 Jul 2024


Malawi declares 21-day mourning over death of Late Vice President Chilima
By: Abara Blessing Oluchi
Wed, 12 Jun 2024   ||   Nigeria,

President Lazarus Chekwara of Malawi has announced a 21-day national mourning.

This is to honour the country's Vice President Saulos Chilima and nine other persons who died in a plane crash.

The President directed that all flags be flown at half-mast throughout the mourning period.

The body of Chilima and his co-passengers were found in the wreckage of the ill-fated plane on Tuesday, June 11, after the plane crashed earlier on Monday.

The deceased had left the country’s capital Lilongwe on Monday on a condolence visit to the family of a former cabinet minister, Ralph Kasambara, only for their own families to now become homes for condolences.

The Dornier 228 aircraft carrying them had gone missing, and searchers found on Tuesday that it crashed over the Chikangawa Forest Reserve in the northern part of Malawi.

Malawi is thus currently in a national mourning mood, which commentators see as reflecting the country’s respect and recognition of the contributions of the vice president and the other prominent victims of the air crash.

Chilima was reputed for having strong feelings against corruption, although he had himself recently faced corruption charges.

He was accused of receiving money in return for influencing the award of some government procurement contracts, but he denied the allegations, and prosecutors dropped the charges last month.

Chilima died in that ghastly air crash on Monday after he had just returned from an official visit to South Korea the day before.

He was in his second term as vice president after serving from 2014-2019 under former President Peter Mutharika.

Fully known as Dr Saulos Klaus Chilima, the late vice president was a 51-year-old economist and politician who had earlier served as the Minister of Economic Planning and Development, as well as Head of Public Sector Reforms.

Born on February 12, 1973 in Ntcheu, Malawi, Chilima was the first child of Henderson Brown Chilima of Ching’anga Village, T/A Njewa, Lilongwe and Elizabeth Frances Chilima of Mbilintengerenji Village, T/A Champiti, Ntcheu.

Chilima spent most of his early life in Blantyre, where his parents were working.

After his primary and secondary schools, he proceeded to the University of Malawi where he graduated with a degree in social sciences in 1994.

He returned to his alma mater to pursue a master’s degree in Knowledge Management, graduating in 2006. On 10 August 2015, Chilima received his Ph.D in Knowledge Management from the University of Bolton, United Kingdom.


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