Mutharika’s Political Maneuvering at Chilima’s Funeral Sparks Controversy

By Linda Kwanjan

The recent burial ceremony of the late Vice President Dr. Saulos Chilima was intended to be a solemn event, uniting the nation in mourning the loss of a prominent leader. However, it became a stage for political maneuvering by the former President, Peter Mutharika, and his party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

While leaders from other major political parties, including the Malawi Congress Party, United Democratic Front, and People’s Party, focused on paying their respects and participating in the burial mass, the DPP seemed more concerned with mobilizing their supporters. Witnesses observed that the DPP members were actively trying to show their morale during the ceremony.

Mutharika at the funeral

The culmination of these actions came at the end of the burial ceremony. As the proceedings concluded and other political leaders departed from Nsipe ground, Peter Mutharika continued to parade around, seemingly aiming to provoke reactions from the attendees and rally his supporters. This behavior starkly contrasted with the unified, respectful conduct expected at such a significant event.

Many attendees expressed their disappointment with Mutharika and the DPP, accusing them of attempting to gain political popularity during a time of national grief. The general sentiment was that the funeral should have been an apolitical event, dedicated to honoring Dr. Chilima’s legacy and allowing the nation to mourn together, free from political agendas.

The actions of the DPP and Mutharika have sparked a broader conversation about the appropriateness of political activities during national ceremonies and the importance of unity during times of mourning. The criticism underscores a desire among Malawians for their leaders to rise above political rivalries and show respect for national events, especially those marking the loss of significant figures in the country’s leadership.