Malawians bury four plane crash victims

By Lauryn M’banga

Four Malawians that died in the Chikangawa plane crash alongside vice president Saulos Chilima, were laid to rest on Friday in their respective home districts.

A multitude of people from all walks of life flocked to Zomba, Mangochi, Balaka and Mangochi Districts to pay their last respects to Late former first lady Patricia Shanil Dzimbiri, late Colonel Owen Sambalopa, late Major Wales Aidin and late Major Flora Selemani Ngwirinji.

Speaking during the ceremony at Mfulanjovu in the area of Traditional Authority Chanthunya in Balaka District, Presidential Advisor on Parliamentary Affairs Maxwell Thyolera said the late Dzimbiri was always available for her responsibilities at Parliament and as a member of the Legal Affairs Committee.

He described Dzimbiri as humble and that her death was a big loss to the nation.

Former President Joyce Banda described late Dzimbiri as a dedicated christian who, despite being a politician and a highly ranked woman in Malawi, portrayed loyalty, kindness, love and sacrifice to others.

Speaking during the funeral service in Traditional Authority Malemia, Malawi Defense Force (MDF) Commander, General Paul Velentino Phiri said Sambalopa’s death is a big blow to the MDF as he was a skilled and well-trained pilot soldier.

Phiri also took an opportunity to advise people against spreading unfounded rumors around the plane crash as others have been saying that the MDF had a hand in it.

Minister of Homeland Security; Harry Mkandawire said the president is saddened by the Samalomba’s death as well as the other eight including vice president Saulos Klaus Chilima.

Hundreds of mourners also gathered at Mangunda Headquarters in Thyolo for the funeral for the late Major Flora Selemani Ngwirinji.

District Commissioner for Thyolo Hudson Kuphanga said the district has lost a role model who was inspiring girls in the district by showing them that it is possible to achieve their dreams.
“As a council, we have lost a courageous daughter who inspired our girls that education and determination can take them wherever they want to go.
“Being the first female pilot in the Malawi Defence Force showed her bravery,” said Kuphanga.
Additional reporting by Malawi News Agency

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