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Chilima’s Family Demands Comprehensive Investigation

The casket of late Chilima The casket of late Chilima Pic by Roy Nkosi

The family of late Saulos Chilima has asked President Lazarus Chakwera to facilitate a comprehensive investigation into the plane crash that killed the vice president and eight other people on Monday.

Speaking at the funeral ceremony for Chilima at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe on Sunday, his older brother, Ben, said the death has left many questions unanswered.

The senior Chilima disclosed that all the items that were recovered from the accident scene, including money, a wrist watch and rosary are now with the family.

Ben Chilima said that family members are deeply affected by the sudden death of his brother.

He said the family has lost a very important person who was a brother, father and uncle.

Chilima said it is vital for Malawians to know the truth about what happened and said a forensic pathologist hired by the family had already examined the body of the late Chilima to find out what killed them.

The sentiments were also echoed by Dr. Chilima’s friend and legal advisor Dr. Chikosa Silungwe.

Dr. Silungwe said all the responsible public institutions must rise to the occasion to let the public know what caused the accident.

Dr. Silungwe asserted that an honest and robust inquiry would uphold the souls of all the victims and prevent similar tragedies.

In his remarks at the ceremony, President Lazarus Chakwera assured Malawians that an investigation involving international experts will be conducted.

He said like many Malawians, he would like to have answers to what caused the accident and what delayed the search and rescue operation.

This contradicts his earlier remarks that he had ordered a search for the plane as soon as he was informed about its disappearance.

The search had been delayed because there was no declaration of a missing plane, Commander of the Malawi Defence Force General Paul Valentino Phiri told the media on Friday, bad weather further hampered the efforts.

The wreckage of the plane and the bodies of the dead were recovered a day later despite the location being close to a populated area.

General Valentino Phiri disclosed that the aircraft was due for routine annual service in July, adding that the military’s investigation will take at least 10 days.

The actual cause of the accident has not been explained.

There are questions from the public on why the plane was allowed to fly in bad weather and why the search and rescue mission was delayed by about four hours.

Chakwera admitted that the inquiry by the Malawi Defence Force may not be enough to uncover the truth, but pleaded with Malawians to be patient during the investigation.

Earlier, son to Dr Chilima, Sean, has described his father as a role model, great leader and great family man.

Sean said in the past few days a lot of people have shared the experiences they had with his father which speaks truly of his character as demonstrated in his family.

He said Dr Chilima's legacy will leave on as he has inspired a lot of people, him and his sister on good morals.

Dr Chilima died alongside the eight others in the plane accident, including former first lady Patricia Shanil Dzimbiri, three crew members, an aide and two security officers.

They were on a trip to attend the funeral ceremony for lawyer Raphael Kasambara in northern Malawi.

Hundreds of foreign dignitaries attended the ceremony in the stadium. Earlier, the body lay in state at the Parliament Building where the public paid their last respects.

On Monday, Chilima’s body will be lowered at Mbirimtengerenji Village, Nsipe, in Ntcheu, his home district.

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Last modified on Sunday, 16/06/2024

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