The funeral ceremony for Lhomwe Paramount Chief Ngolongoliwa was held today in Thyolo but leaders of opposition political parties did not attend.
Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi Congress Party and Saulos Chilima of UTM – who were President Peter Mutharika’s main challengers in the May 21 elections – did not show up for the funeral ceremony in Thyolo.
The two are challenging the outcome of the May 21 polls and have never attended the same event as Mutharika since the polls.
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Ben Phiri spoke on the issue at the funeral saying politicians should be united in such times.
“As you can see, we do not have opposition leaders here. Our fallen chief transcended beyond politics,” said Phiri.
Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Kondwani Nankhumwa addressed the mourners on behalf of President Mutharika.
He called for the need to peacefully choose a new paramount chief of the Lhomwe tribe.
“We do not want to have a long vacuum as it happened after the death of chief Mkumba because of disagreements,” he said.
Former President Bakili Muluzi, Vice President Everton Chimulirenji, Malawi Defence Force Commander General Vincent Nundwe and several cabinet ministers also attended the funeral where military honours were accorded to the departed chief.
However, First Lady Gertrude Mutharika and vice president’s wife Judith Mutharika were not at the funeral as they are still in the United Kingdom where they went to watch Mutharika’s son, Tadikira Mafubza receive a degree.