Kasungu in tears as Kapheni rests

On a sunny, yet cold Thursday, Mazinga Community Ground in Senior Chief Santhe’s area in Kasungu was full to capacity as hundreds of mourners came to bid farewell to the Late Lucas Kapheni who died in a plane crash at Chikangawa in Mzimba District on Monday.

Until his death, Kapheni was the Guard Commander for Vice President Dr Saulos Chilima who also died in the accident.

As the remains of the 46-year-old Assistant Commissioner of Police arrived at around 3pm for burial, what was being heard as a distant occurrence turned to become a sad reality, sending the mourners led by cabinet ministers into tears.

Minister of Finance Simplex Chithyola Banda, who is also a Member of Parliament for the area, said it was unfathomable to accept the reality that an energetic young man, they were together in Korea, a week ago is no more.

“Today Thursday we are burying a dedicated young man we had gone together on duty in Korea to discuss matters that will help improve our economy. Exactly one-week Kapheni is no more and it’s hard to believe.

“We cry for a young man that served his country well. However, we cry with hope that God is in control, and we look up to him,” Chithyola said.

Senior Chief Santhe said she has lost a productive son of the community who had a bright future.

She said: “It is a difficult time for us because as we are mourning the demise of the Vice President Dr Saulos Chilima, here in my area we are also grieving the passing on of our son, Lucas.

“As parents in the village, we have hope in our children who are in town working and helping us. It is saddening that we have lost such a young and productive child whom we loved.”

Minister of Health, Khumbize Chiponda, who represented President Lazarus Chakwera said the country is in a lake of tears following the plane crash which killed nine people including the Vice President.

“In several places this week, we are burying our loved ones. It’s a difficult moment for us as a country. It’s a desperate time where we have to look up to God for comfort,” she said.

Chiponda described Kapheni as a dedicated man who was climbing up the ladder of his career as a manager in the Malawi Police Service.

Also in attendance were Minister of Transport Jacob Hara, Deputy Speaker of Parliament Madalitso Kazombo, Members of Parliament, senior police officers, chiefs, government officials and representatives of various political parties.
Nine people, including the Vice President, died on Monday when a military aircraft they were traveling in to attend a funeral in Nkhata Bay crashed in suspected bad weather conditions in Mzimba.
Kapheni is survived by a wife and four children.

Story by Malawi News Agency (Mana)

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