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Malawi Vice President Confirmed Dead in Plane Crash

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Malawi Vice President Confirmed Dead in Plane Crash

Malawi Vice President Saulos Chilima’s aircraft, missing since Monday, has been found “completely destroyed with no survivors,” President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera says.

Malawi’s Vice President Saulos Chilima and nine others have been confirmed dead, according to a statement from the president’s office released on Tuesday. This follows an overnight military search and rescue operation in the forest, ordered by President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera after Chilima’s plane went missing on Monday.

In a televised address to the public, President Chikwera said that the search and rescue operation “ended in a tragedy,” adding that the aircraft was found “completely destroyed with no survivors.” Chilima was in the flight with nine other people, including the former first lady, Shanil Dzimbiri.

Following the news, Malawians have taken to social media to mourn 51-year-old Chilima, who is widely loved, particularly among the youth.

“What a sad day in Malawi. A huge loss to our nation, losing one of the greatest heroes. . .may his soul and the nine others rest in peace,” says Twitter user @yankhoooh, while another user, @clingao, describes him as, “the hope for many Malawaians.” “A candle blown in the wind,” he adds. “It hurts, but the Lord’s plans are not our plans. Rest in eternal peace, sir.”

President Chakwera has also declared a national day of mourning and ordered that all flags be flown at half-mast till the day of the funeral, whose arrangements he says will be announced in due course.

Chilima was traveling from Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, in a Malawi Defense Force aircraft on Monday, to attend the funeral of former cabinet minister Ralph Kasambara. He was scheduled to land at Mzuzu International Airport by 10:02 a.m. local time on Monday. Due to bad weather, the plane was told to return to Lilongwe. Then it went off the radar, prompting the operation.

Chilima, who has served in public office for ten years, previously held positions as minister of economic planning and development, and minister of civil service. In 2020, Chilima, who had been vice president since 2014, and Chakwera, both from different parties, teamed up to defeat the incumbent president, Peter Mutharika, in the country’s rerun elections. In 2022, Chilima was charged with accepting a bribe from a businessman, in exchange for government contracts. Last month, the court dropped the charges — to which he pleaded not guilty — providing no explanation.




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