Democratic Progressive Party Secretary General Ecklen Kudontoni died Thursday morning in a road accident at Kasese Trading Centre in Dowa, the party confirmed.
Kudontoni was driving towards Kasungu on the M1 Road when, according to an eyewitness, the right front wheel of the Toyota Fortuner he was driving came off, which forced the car to swerve.
The eyewitness said Kudontoni was thrown out of the vehicle through the windscreen onto the tarmac road. The car eventually overturned about 15 metres from where he fell.
He was alone in the vehicle.
Kudontoni was rushed to the nearby Kasese Health Centre where he was confirmed dead on arrival.
His body was later taken to Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe awaiting an agreement between the family and the party on the funeral arrangements, according to DPP Publicity Secretary Francis Kasaila.
Scores of DPP members kept vigil at the hospital for much of Thursday and some party sympathisers, mostly women, were seen weeping.
During a reshuffle of the party’s national governing council in October 2014, Kudontoni was appointed secretary general after the post holder at the time, Jean Kalilani, was relegated to the position of the party’s NGC special advisor.
Kasaila said the party was deeply moved by Kudontoni and would miss his services.
“Honourable Kudontoni’s death is a huge loss to the party. He was dedicated to the party. The party will miss his services,” Kasaila said.
Kudontoni, who came from Salima, served as Member of Parliament for Salima Central for UDF from 1999 until 2004 when he lost the seat to a Malawi Congress Party candidate. He contested again in 2009 as an independent candidate but he lost out to a DPP candidate.
He served in UDF’s Central Region executive committee for a long time but he left after the 2009 elections to join DPP.
The country’s major political parties have also expressed shock with the death of Kudontoni.
United Democratic Front (UDF) Publicity Secretary Ken Ndanga said the party was shocked with the death of Kudontoni who had been its long time member before his defection.
“We are mourning with his family. He served as our MP for Salima Central from 1999 to 2004. He also served in our regional committee before he joined DPP. He was a long time UDF member such that we still appreciate the role he played in strengthening the party especially in Salina where he was coming from. The fact that he left [the party] does not make us forget the role he played,” said Ndanga.
Malawi Congress Party Second Deputy Secretary General Eisenhower Mkaka said his party is also shocked by Kudontoni’s death.
“As a party we are very saddened by his death. He was not an ordinary person. He was a Malawian first. We mourn with his family,” Mkaka said.
People’s Party (PP) acting president, Uladi Mussa, has described Kudontoni’s death as saddening.
“I worked with him in UDF. He was very dedicated in whatever he was doing. As PP, we are very saddened by his death. Our condolences to the family and to the party,” Mussa said.
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