President Lazarus Chakwera on Sunday joined other political leaders in the country in paying tribute to former vice-president Justin Chimera Malewezi who died on Saturday night in Lilongwe aged 77.
Chakwera, Vice-President Saulos Chilima and former presidents Peter Mutharika, Bakili Muluzi and Joyce Banda, have described Malewezi as a humble, loyal and distinguished politician and civil servant who dedicated his life to serving the country.
In a message of condolence to the bereaved family, Chakwera said he was heartbroken to learn about Malewezi’s death, describing him as a close friend to his family.
Said the President: “Dr Malewezi was one of the pioneers who fought for the democracy we enjoy today. He dedicated his entire life to nation building, through the various offices he held in government including that of Secretary to the President and eventually vice-president of the Republic.
“His family values, his strong roots and love for our heritage, his wisdom in dealing with national matters and his love for the arts are some of the accolades we will miss as a nation.”
In their tribute, Chilima and his wife Mary described Malewezi as a sanctuary of great and honourable virtues who served the country with utmost dedication.
Reads their tribute: “Every nation deserves sober, wise, calm, steady and respected senior citizens with a track record of honour and decorum. A voice all citizens can respect in times of need and tidy up matters of national harmony. Death has brutally deprived Malawi of that icon.
“As you walk across the valley and watch over a nation you loved so much, and served so honestly with distinct diligence, we pray you intercede for us as we navigate through challenges present and yonder.”
Former president Bakili Muluzi, under whom Malewezi served as vice-president from 1994 to 2004, said the fallen politician was a calm and honest man who dedicated his full life to the service of Malawi as a politician and civil servant.
Muluzi, who said he knew Malewezi from the time he was Secretary to the President and Cabinet (SPC) and Secretary to Treasury, stated: “It is a shock to me because he is a man I worked with very closely indeed. He was very calm, excellent and intelligent, and dedicated to whatever he wanted to do. He was an example of someone who wanted to serve this country better.
“We have lost a gem. Malawians, particularly the civil servants should be able to emulate the dedication, UDF, he joined People’s Progressive Movement (PPM), whose president Mark Katsonga Phiri on Sunday described him as someone who was dedicated to Malawi’s development.
He said: “After he left UDF in 2004, he contested at our convention for the presidency but lost to the late Aleke Banda.
“Later on, he competed as an independent presidential candidate in the 2004 election which he lost. But he was a person who knew where we are coming from, what we needed to do, and how to achieve results. A very humble, diligent and hard-working person.”
PPM later joined Mgwirizano Coalition but Malewezi declared himself an independent candidate.
That year, he contested for the presidency alongside Bingu wa Mutharika, Gwanda Chakuamba of Mgwirizano Coalition, Mpinganjira of National Democratic Alliance and MCP’s John Tembo. He amassed 2.5 percent of the national vote.