Burial of the late Paramount Chief Ngolongoliwa is scheduled to take place tomorrow at Mtundawosema in Thyolo District. He died on Sunday evening at Mwaiwathu Private Hospital in Blantyre,
Visibly heartbroken mourners were seen converging at College of Medicine (CoM) mortuary in Blantyre from as early as 1.29pm on Monday to see off the late chief’s remains at 2pm.
Protocol was followed as per CoM’s policy of only letting a few people inside while some remained outside the gate.
Notable faces inside the mortuary included Mulhako wa Alhomwe trustee James Naphambo, Blantyre district commissioner (DC) Bennett Nkasala, Mulanje DC Charles Makanga, Blantyre City Council (BCC) chief executive officer (CEO) Alfred Chanza and Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi CEO Alexon Chiwaya.
At exactly 1.39pm, a Malawi Defence Force (MDF) vehicle carrying 10 soldiers arrived at the mortuary.
Silence engulfed the atmosphere as Ngolongoliwa’s casket was being taken into a BCC hearse registration BU 5033 Mtundawosema.
President Peter Mutharika, who is scheduled to attend the burial tomorrow, has since directed that the late Ngolongoliwa be buried with military honours, according to a statement from the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) signed by Chief Secretary Lloyd Muhara.
In an interview later, Naphambo described the departed chief as a pillar and custodian of the Lhomwe culture, saying his death is a setback to the Mulhako wa Alomwe culture group.
Born Laelo Costa Juma on February 18 1950, Ngolongoliwa is survived by a wife, 16 children and 41 grandchildren.
In October 2015, Mutharika installed Ngolongoliwa as Traditional Authority.
On March 9 2017, he was elevated to the position of Paramount Chief at Chonde in Mulanje District.