Former president Bakili Muluzi and the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) yesterday said they are deeply shocked by the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika who died on Thursday.
Muluzi, who was due to leave for further medical attention in South Africa on Wednesday, said he will delay his departure to attend Mutharikaâ€™s funeral.
â€œLet us put politics behind us. Let us work together. Malawi is known as a peaceful country and I do still request for the respect of the Constitution. It is not negotiable. Let Joyce Banda take over. Some of us will not allow people to cause confusion,â€ said Muluzi in a telephone interview.
PAC, which recently called for Mutharikaâ€™s resignation over the state of the economy and governance, conveyed its condolences to the former presidentâ€™s wife Callista, his children and the whole nation in a statement released yesterday.
Reads the statement: â€œPAC does not have words strong enough to express how deeply affected we are as a nation as a result of the loss.
â€œWe are aware as an organisation that while tears will dry memories will continue to survive in years to come. The late Bingu wa Muthalikaâ€™s determination to achieve the desired goals will be remembered by many Malawians.
â€œMalawi has lost a man who has transformed the infrastructural development of our country. May his soul rest in peace.â€
Delegates at the PAC conference in Blantyre in March gave Mutharika 60 days to resign for failing to solve the countryâ€™s persistent problems.
â€œPAC believes that the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi must be fully respected by all Malawians. Attempts to bend the laws for the sake of pleasing some authorities could bring disastrous consequences among peace-loving Malawians,â€ reads the statement.
Speaking at a news conference in Blantyre on Saturday, leaders of opposition political parties, which included Aford, UDF, Code, Mafunde, PPM, Petra, NRP and RP, expressed sadness at Mutharikaâ€™s passing.
The parties appealed for respect of the Constitution, stressing that Joyce Banda is the rightful heir to the throne.
Meanwhile, the Malawi Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) joined the nation in mourning Mutharika.
â€œThe news of his death has come as a shock to us as there were no reports that the late Mutharika was not feeling well.
â€œMISA Malawi Chapter extends its condolences to the former First Lady Madam Callista Mutharika, the children and the entire bereaved family at this very difficult time,â€ said Anthony Kasunda, MISA Malawi chairperson.
The media advocacy organisation commended both local and international media for keeping Malawians informed on the status of Mutharika at a time government was not forthcoming with information.
â€œWe appeal to those in authority and responsible for the funeral arrangements to ensure that the media is supplied with accurate information so that Malawians are kept informed of what is happening at every stage,â€ said Kasunda in a statement.