Malawian Vice President Confirmed Dead In Plane Crash

Published 1 month ago
Malawi’s Anti-Corruption Bureau arrested the country’s Vice President Chilima over corruption allegations in Lilongwe
Malawi's Vice President Saulos Klaus Chilima (REUTERS TV/Eldson Chagara/via REUTERS)

In a devastating blow to Malawi, Vice President Saulos Klaus Chilima and nine others have died in a plane crash that occurred on June 10, along with nine other persons on board. The Malawian Defense Force aircraft, enroute from the Malawian city of Lilongwe to Mzuzu for the funeral of former Attorney General Ralph Kasambara, went down reportedly amid poor visibility and bad weather conditions.

Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera addressed the nation on Tuesday, confirming the tragic news. “The plane has been found and I am deeply saddened and sorry to inform you all, it has turned out to be a terrible tragedy,” Chakwera said in a televised address. He added, “Something terrible went wrong with that aircraft on its flight back… sending it crashing down and killing everyone on board and leaving us all devastated.”

The exact cause of the crash remains unclear, but initial reports suggest that adverse weather conditions played a significant role. The plane lost contact with aviation authorities shortly after being instructed to return to Lilongwe due to poor visibility. Rescuers combed the fog-cloaked forest south of Mzuzu, where the plane was last detected.

Advertisement

The rescue operations were extensive, involving support from neighboring countries and international partners. General Paul Valentino Phiri, Malawi’s army commander, highlighted the collaborative efforts, including helicopters and drones provided by countries like the United States, Britain, Norway, and Israel.

The Malawian Defense Force aircraft was carrying Chilima, a prominent political figure and widely respected leader in Malawi. Also on board were Gloria Mtukule, a notable figure, and Shanil Dzimbiri, the former First Lady of Malawi. The tragic deaths of these key political and public figures have had a significant impact on the nation.

President Chakwera praised Vice President Chilima, describing him as “a good man, a devoted father and husband, a patriotic citizen who served his country with distinction, a formidable vice president.” He extended his condolences to the families of all the victims, acknowledging their service to the nation.

The political implications of this tragedy are profound. Chilima, a charismatic leader, had been expected to be a presidential candidate in the 2025 elections.

Advertisement

This incident also raises concerns about the safety and reliability of military flights in the region. The Malawian government has pledged a thorough investigation into the crash to prevent such tragedies in the future. As the nation mourns, the government faces the dual challenge of ensuring a transparent investigation and maintaining political stability – particularly in the runup to the upcoming elections.