President Peter Mutharika and First Lady Gertrude Mutharika have expressed sadness with the death of 16 people in two separate accidents on the outskirts of Blantyre City on Saturday.
The First Couple said it was saddened by the fatalities during the accidnts at Six Miles on the Robert Mugabe Highway between Mulanje and Limbe and the Blantyre-Zalewa Road near Namikasi Secondary School in Mdeka.
“The President and the First Lady join all Malawians in expressing their condolences to the bereaved families and also wishing those injured a quick recovery.
“The President is assuring the bereaved and affected families that Government will do everything within its means to support them during this difficult time. May our Lord bless and bring comfort to the bereaved and ease the pain of loss,” reads a statement released yesterday, signed by Minister of Information and Communications Technology Nicholas Dausi.
In Chiradzulu, Blantyre Archdiocese communications secretary Father Frank Mwinganyama told The Nation that members of St. Joseph Mphakati of Chikapa Catholic Church, an outstation of Nthawira Parish, were coming from Mulomba in Phalombe where they were escorting their chairperson Paulino Chimtengo to unveiling ceremony of his late father’s tombstone.
He said Chimtengo hired two minibuses one for men and the other for women, but the driver carrying the women lost control of the vehile after the front tyre burst before overturning three times at Six Miles in Nguludi at around 4pm.
Chimtengo said five people, including the driver, died on the spot, two others died later the same day while the eighth peson died early yesterday at Nguludi Mission Hospital in the district. Six people sustained serious injuries.
Meanwhile, police said an Isuzu truck carrying about 40 passengers, who were also on a church trip collided with another heavy goods truck registration LA 5811/BQ8482, at Namikasi, Blantyre, killing eight people while one sustained serious injuries.
National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera confirmed the accident, but could not give more details.
“Yes, it is true that there were two accidents along the Robert Mugabe Highway in Chiradzulu which claimed [eight] lives and the other one occurred at Namikasi along the M1 Road in Blantyre where eight people were pronounced dead upon arrival at Mlambe Hospital. But our investigations are still underway,” he said.
There was a sombre mood at Chikapa area in Machinjiri where six of the eight victims of the Robert Mugabe Highway accident came from.
Thousands gathered at Chikapa Catholic Church to pay their last respects to Apolonia Chayamba and Beatrice Chikwapusa who were buried yesterday in the township. Among notable people who attended the service was Public Private Partnership Commission executive director Jimmy Lipunga.
In his remarks, Mwinganyama described the death of the eight members as shocking.
He said the church has lost dedicated and active members. n