“I am devastated” – Reactions trail death of Malawi’s VP

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“With the confirmation that Vice President Dr. Saulos Klaus Chilima is dead, I can not hide my devastation,” Pilirani Phiri, Director of Communications, Office of Malawi’s Vice President has said. (NOP) reports Malawi’s Vice President Chilima and nine others were killed in a plane crash after the aircraft conveying them disappeared on Monday.

“With the confirmation that Vice President Dr. Saulos Klaus Chilima is dead, I can not hide my devastation. I have served Dr. Chilima as Director of Communications at the VP’s Office as well as his official spokesperson since 2014.

“I was 33, he was 41 when we all stepped in the Office of the Vice President for the first time. That I would stay this long working for a man who demanded standards, speed, loyalty and due dilligence – is something that I will celebrate forever.

“I am proud that for 10 years I served a noble man who dedicated his life to serving our nation and its people with dignity, compassion, and unwavering commitment. Dr. Chilima’s leadership, wisdom, and warmth inspired me.

“I have learnt a lot from him. I learnt to always do due diligence. I learnt the value of time. I learnt the power of discipline. I learnt, no matter what, the importance of finding time for God. I will deeply miss him.

“As a country in shock and a people in mourning, let us honour his memory by continuing to work towards a brighter future for our nation, just as he would have wanted. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Mary, his children, his family and friends,” Phiri wrote on X (formerly Twitter) after the death of VP Chilima was announced.

NOP reports Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera confirmed in a nationwide broadcast on Tuesday that Vice President Chilima and nine others died in a bizarre plane crash near a hill in the Chikangawa forest.

“I am sorry to inform you all that it has turned out to be a terrible tragedy. The search and rescue team has found the aircraft near a hill in the Chikangawa forest, and they have found it completely destroyed with no survivors as all passengers on board were killed on impact.

“Words cannot describe how heartbreaking this is and I can only imagine how much pain and anguish you all must be feeling at this time as well as how much pain and anguish you all must be feeling in the coming days and weeks.

“As we mourn this terrible lose, I also know that going through a terrible lose like this makes us feel helpless and lost as death has a way of remind us that we do not have control over so many things that affect our lives and those we love,” President Chakwera said.

The aeroplane carrying Vice President Chilima and nine others, lost contact approximately 10 minutes before its scheduled landing at Mzuzu Airport. The 51-year-old was reported to be on his way to represent the government at the burial of former government minister, Ralph Kasambara, when the unfortunate incident occurred.

Meanwhile, the Australian Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Minoli Perera has described the death of Chilima as tragic, while expressing condolences to the people of Malawi.

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic passing of the Vice President of the Republic of Malawi Rt Hon Dr Saulos Klaus Chilima & other passengers killed in yesterday’s plane crash. Our condolences are with the people of Malawi at this difficult time,” Perera stated.