Friday, July 12, 2024

Malawi mourns vice president who died in a plane crash

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Elvis Adjetey
Elvis Adjetey
Elvis Adjetey is an experienced African journalist who has worked with top media brands in Ghana where he is based.

Malawians are mourning their Vice President Dr. Saulos Chilima who died together with nine others in a plane crash on Monday.

Hours of intense search for the plane that went missing shortly after take-off led to the discovery of the wreckage of the aircraft.

President Lazarus Chakwera announced that the wreck of the plane was found without any survivors.

The aircraft was flying from the capital Lilongwe to the northern part of the country when it disappeared from the radars.

The army said the military aircraft was flying in bad weather.

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Soldiers had been searching Chikangawa Forest overnight and into the morning in an effort to find the plane.

At a news briefing on Tuesday, President Chakwera said the Malawi Defence Force commander informed him that the search and rescue operation had been completed and the plane was found.

Mr Chakwera said he was “deeply saddened and sorry” to inform Malawians of the terrible tragedy.

He also paid tribute to Dr Chilima, describing him as “a good man”, “devoted father” and “formidable VP”.

“I consider it one of the great honours of my life to have had him as a deputy and as a counsellor,” he added.

Dr Chilima, 51, was on his way to represent the government at the burial of former government minister Ralph Kasambara, who died four days ago.

Former First Lady Shanil Dzimbiri was also on the flight, which took off from the capital, Lilongwe, on Monday morning.

The military is transporting the remains of Dr Chiima and the other victims to Lilongwe, the president said, adding that funeral arrangements will be announced in due course.

Dr Chilima had been vice-president of Malawi since 2014.

In 2022, Dr Chilima was arrested and charged on allegations that he accepted money in exchange for awarding government contracts.

Last month, the court dropped the charges, giving no reasons for this decision.

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