Politicians once more buried their differences and joined hands on Sunday in paying their last respects to former Malawi president Bingu wa Mutharika in Lilongwe.
The politiciansâ€”including Cabinet ministers, MPs and leader of opposition John Temboâ€”solemnly trooped to the New State House to view Mutharikaâ€™s body lying in state at the presidential residence.
This followed family membersâ€”led by former first lady Callista Mutharika and Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Professor Peter Mutharikaâ€”who paid their homage to the departed Mutharika on Saturday evening.
The mood at the New State House remained sombre.
But unlike on Saturday, when the premises were filled with people from all walks of life, family members and security personnel were the main feature on Sunday as visitors trickled in and out of the Banqueting Hall to pay their last respects to Mutharika.
Inside the Banqueting Hall, which used to house the National Assembly before construction of the purpose-built Parliament at City Centre, dirges from different choir groups continued to fill the room amid sobs here and there.
First to pay their last respects as time struck 10am were Cabinet ministers who included Goodall Gondwe, Symon Vuwa Kaunda, Aaron Sangala, Yunus Mussa, Luscious Kanyumba, John Bande, Ephraim Chiume, Daniel Liwimbi and several deputy ministers, including Nicholas Dausi.
After the ministers, Tembo took his turn. He was followed by MPs from all political parties represented in Parliament.
Notable among the MPs were MCPâ€™s Watson Makala Ngozo and Vitus Dzoole Mwale, UDFâ€™s Ibrahim Matola, who is also leader of the party in Parliament and his deputy Atupele Muluzi; whereas DPP had notable names such as Ken Kandodo, Chikumbutso Hiwa, Sam Ganda, Godfrey Kamanya, Abel Kayembe and Bauleni Manna.
President of the Maravi Peopleâ€™s Party Uladi Mussa also joined the other MPs alongside Afordâ€™s new MP Enock Chihana.
Senior government officials led by High Court judges and principal secretaries also took their turn to pay their last respects to the fallen Malawi leader.
After the senior government officials, it was the turn for leaders of various political parties led by DPP secretary general Elias Wakuda Kamanga and Peopleâ€™s Party secretary general Henry Chibwana.
On Saturday evening, after the requiem mass, besides the former first lady and Peter Mutharika, the deceased leaderâ€™s four children paid their respects as did notable figures such as former official government hostess Mama Cecilia Kadzamira, Admarcâ€™s chief executive officer Dr. Charles Matabwa, businessperson Leston Mulli and some of the late Mutharikaâ€™s close aides.
According to the programme, the body will be moved to Parliament Building this Monday for two days of public viewing before it is taken to Mzuzu and Blantyre.