Postmortem on Bingu wa Muthalika’s body was done on Saturday April 7 2012 and it was confirmed that he died of cardiac arrest.
This comes after the Malawi Embassy officials in South Africa got permission from the First Lady Madame Callista Muthalika who is currently in Pretoria. The body is expected to be flown back to Malawi on Thursday April 12 2012.
Meanwhile a source from government has disclosed that the South African government has offered to fly back the remains of wa Muthalika on a military plane as one way of paying respect to the former African Union Chairman.
On a related development, the cabinet that met yesterday, Saturday and chaired by President Joyce Banda has instituted a committee to take care of the funeral program. Local government minister, Henry Mussa was appointed to chair the committee with Patricia Kaliati, Jean Kalilani, Vuwa Kaunda, and Nicholas Dausi as members.
On where the former president is to be buried will be announced after consultation from the family members. However, there are two suggested places: either at his Ndata farm in Thyolo next to where his first wife, Ethel was buried or in Lilongwe at the Heroes acre where Malawi’s post-independence president, Hastings Kamuzu is buried. It is believed that there is already a place prepared as his resting place within the precincts of his opulent house on the farm.
At exactly 17:10 local time (15:10GMT) then Vice President Joyce Hilda Mtila Banda, accompanied her husband, who is also former Chief Justice Richard Banda, arrived at the Chinese-built, state of the art Parliament building in Lilongwe. She was welcomed by the Chief Secretary Bright Msaka, Army Commander General Henry Odilo and Inspector General of Police Peter Mukhitho
While entering the chamber, she looked very composed and her face beamed with confidence. History was in the making; for the first time Malawi would be having a female president and Africa’s second after Sirleaf Johnson of Liberia.
Presidential Advisor on Religious Affairs, Billy Gama, read from the scriptures and said a short prayer before Joyce Banda was sworn in by the Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo, SC. Reverend Billy Gama read from Isaiah 55vs8: ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways; declares the LORD’. He also read from Romans 13: ‘…let every soul be subject unto the higher powers for there is no power but of GOD, the powers that be are ordained of GOD. Who so ever therefore resist their power, resist the ordained of GOD’
When she took the oath of office, General Odilo handed to her the baton, signifying that she is now the Commander in Chief of the Malawi’s Defense Force.
Sympathizers and People Party (PP) members ululated and chanted ‘boma. boma’; breaking the somber mood expected during a mourning period. She delivered a short acceptance speech in which she appealed for unity, forgiveness and not revenge.
She later inspected guard of honor mounted by the second battalion of the Malawi Defense Force (MDF) and a 21-gun salute was administered. There were visible slippages on procedures while she performed this duty probably owing to the fact that she had been reduced to a ceremonial vice president for two years. General Odilo offered on-the spot guidance.
The people that watched the guard of honor sang along, on top of their voices and on a faster pitch, when the army band played the national anthem.
As her motorcade drove out, a mob of people thronged along the road; singing and waving to their first female president. At one point the convoy was blocked by jubilant citizens and security had to clear the road. There was a multitude of people along the Presidential Way who came to witness this historic event.
Representatives of multilateral and bilateral donors, members of the faith community, political party functionaries, members of the academia and the legal fraternity attended the function. Conspicuously missing were Leader of Opposition in Parliament, John Tembo and Bingu’s brother, Peter and business magnet Mulli.