The late Rose Chibambo, the only woman in the first independence Cabinet in 1964, confided in her relations that in the event of her death, she should be buried in Mzuzu City.
Her late husband came from Ekwendeni in Mzimba.
Meanwhile, Minister of Information, Tourism and Civic Education Jappie Mhango said Chibambo will be accorded a State funeral with the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) handling proceedings and giving her a gun salute.
He, however, did not confirm whether this meant President Peter Mutharika will be in attendance.
Former president Bakili Muluzi and leader of opposition during the majority of Muluzi’s presidency, Gwanda Chakuamba, said on Tuesday that Chibambo deserved a State funeral.
Her nephew Osizani Ziba said on Wednesday that Chibambo told them in advance where she was to be buried, adding that the first female member of Cabinet did not give reasons for her choice.
“That was her wish. She will be happy if she is buried here in Mzuzu. That is what she wanted and we have to honour her wish of being buried in Mzuzu.
A representative of the Chibambos at Ekwendeni, Welton Munthali, said the Chibambos wanted her to be buried there, but said she will be buried in Mzuzu on Friday. It is wide tradition in the Northern Region that a woman is buried at her husband’s home.
In a related development, Paramount Chief M’mbelwa V has described Chibambo’s death as a blow to the Ngonis of Mzimba and their culture, as until her death, she was a trustee for Mzimba Heritage Association. The association promotes and preserves the Ngoni culture.
“She played a great role in promoting the culture and uniting people. She guided the Ngoni on several issues and we will honour her before she is buried. You will see what we come up with,” he said.
Veteran politician Robson Chirwa said the Ngonis have lost someone who had in-depth history of the Ngoni culture. n