UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
MALAWI NEWS ONLINE/MALAWI NEWS ONLINE/MALAWI NEWS ONLINE
SPECIAL EDITION 1 DECEMBER 1997
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CASKET WON'T RUST
The casket in which former president Hastings Kamuzu Banda will be buried will take over 100 years before it starts rusting, Malawi Congress Party treasurer general, HetherwicK Ntaba said yesterday.
He said the casket imported from the United States of America had been chosen to suit the special embalming performed by undertakers in South Africa where Banda died at Garden City Clinic on November 25.
Ntaba said the bronze casket, which was purchased for K716,000 (SAR 179,000) can remain for over 100 years without rusting. The first casket which was made of steel and which was going at about K185,000 (SAR 50,000) was disqualified because it could not have taken long before it started rusting, he said.A decision was then made by the committee which was looking into the funeral arrangements to purchase a bronze casket which would last longer.
The body has been systematically embalmed and it will be buried in a concrete grave to prevent any damages to the body and casket for historical purposes in the same way that former Kenyan president Mzee Jomo Kenyata was buried.
THOUSANDS STRUGGLE TO VIEW BANDA'S REMAINS
Poor planning by the organisers of late Kamuzu Banda's state funeral yesterday marred the seven hour long programme of body viewing at Chichiri Conference Centre, resulting into a stampede in which people were injured.
Probably contrary to the planners estimation of people's interest in viewing the remains of the former head of state, thousands of people thronged to the centre and struggled to break through the tight security ring there in order to pay their last respects to Kamuzu, whose body is lying in state.
PRESIDENT BAKILI MULUZI LEADS NATION IN PAYING LAST RESPECTS
Pandemonium broke out after President Muluzi left, as people queuing fought tooth and nail to outdo the security deployed to maintain order at and around the hall. At least 10 people and two policemen sustained serious injuries in the fracas that ensued between security personnel and people who struggled to get into the conference centre and have a glimpse of the body of the country's first president. The casualties were rushed to hospital.
Baton stick wielding policemen with vicious dogs by their sides, whipped and chased people in an effort to get them to stand on the lengthy queues some of which were as long as half a kilometre.
By as early as 10:30 am queues were reaching as far as the Polytechnic bus stop along the Chipembere Highway while thousands of people were already outside the hall battling with police to get inside. "Come what may, I won't give up until I see the Ngwazi's body," vowed a middle aged man on one of the longest queues.
One irritated man shouted at the law enforcing personnel not to whip people as if they were struggling to get into a football match. Inside the hall, somber people paid their last respects to the remains of Kamuzu which lay in a bronze casket surrounded by a bush of wreaths and beautiful flowers. A few women collapsed after viewing the body while others failed to hold back their emotion even before they reached the casket.
"I could not believe the news of the demise of Kamuzu until I saw his body in the coffin," said a sobbing Ms Kachere, draped in Malawi Congress Party colours.
Beautiful singing by the choirs of St Michael and All Angels, CCAP women's Guild choir groups and the Police Band added solemnity to the occasion.
This morning, the body of the former president will be flown to Lilongwe where it will also lie in state for viewing from 9 am to 4 pm. The viewing will continue tomorrow.
The burial ceremony will take place on Wednesday.
From: AfricaNN@inform-bbs.dk (Africa_news Network) Date: Tue, 02 Dec 1997 11:32:05 +0100 Subject: MALAWI - DEATH OF BANDA SPECIAL EDITION Message-ID: <email@example.com>
Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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