Veteran unionist and founding secretary general of the Malawi Congress of Trade Union (MCTU) Francis Antonio died on New Year’s Day after a short malaria bout.
The late Antonio, aged 58, died at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe where he was admitted for two days.
The deceased’s cousin, Kiswel Dakamau, said until his death, Antonio was still doing unionism with the Chemical Energy, Mining and Allied Workers Union (Cemawu) in Lilongwe.
He was laid to rest on at his home, Ndenguma, Traditional Authority (T/A) Malemia in Nsanje on Saturday.
Dakamau described the deceased as a force and an inspiration to their family because of his contact, dialogue and peace-loving style.
Alongside Ken Williams Mhango, Antonio founded MCTU in the early 1990s and served as its secretary general for two terms before retiring in 2004.
Mhango, who was MCTU president at the time, described Antonio’s death as a knock to unionism in Malawi.
Meanwhile, President Peter Mutharika expressed shock and grief at the death of Antonio who he described as one of the constructive civil society leaders.
In his condolence delivered to the bereaved by Mavuto Bamusi, presidential advisor on non-governmental organisations (NGOs), Mutharika said Antonio always gave alternatives on how best to address workers’ rights. n