Former Cabinet minister Harry Thomson has died after an illness, his family has confirmed. He was 85.
According to the deceased’s daughter Brenda Thomson, the veteran politician died early yesterday at Milpark Hospital in South Africa where he had gone for a routine medical checkup following a year of ill health.
She said in an interview yesterday: “He went for a routine medical checkup where his health deteriorated and we lost him.
“His body will be repatriated back home on Friday [today] through Kamuzu International Airport [KIA] after which it will be taken to Blantyre by road where burial will take place.”
Meanwhile, President Peter Mutharika has directed that Thomson be accorded burial with military honours as a former Cabinet minister.
A statement issued by the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), signed by Chief Secretary Lloyd Muhara states that Thomson’s remains will arrive at KIA around 4pm.
“Thereafter the body will be taken to Sunnyside in Blantyre for vigil. Requiem Mass and burial is expected to take place on Monday June 10 at Limbe Cathedral in Blantyre,” reads the statement in part.
It further states that Mutharika will be represented at the funeral by Vice-President Everton Chimulirenji.
Thomson served in several portfolios in the United Democratic Front (UDF) administration and as member of Parliament for Chikwawa North Constituency.
Thomson is survived by a wife, four children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Former president Bakili Muluzi has since described his death as a loss to the nation.
Said Muluzi: “I am very saddened at the passing of Honourable Harry Thomson. We worked together throughout the transition and he served as Cabinet minister, secretary general of our party and as an MP. The country will miss a great patriot and selfless leader.”
On his part, former UDF Cabinet minister Ziliro Chibambo said Thomson demonstrated unwavering dedication and a passion to make the country better.
Information from the Lost History Foundation indicates that Thomson first contested for a parliamentary position in August 1961 on the then United Federal Party ticket.
Records indicate that Thomson was sacked as a minister in 2003 before he quit UDF and later joined the now defunct National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
In 2009, he announced that he had quit active politics only to resurface in May 2012 when the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) appointed him adviser to its then acting-president Peter Mutharika.