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Malawi mourns professor Mathews Chikaonda

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By Jameson Chauluka:

Malawi Tuesday lost yet another luminary. Former Finance minister Mathews Chikaonda died peacefully in the United States at 5:45AM Malawi time.

According to Violet Chikaonda, the late Chikaonda’s widow, the former Reserve Bank of Malawi governor and group chief executive officer of Press Corporation Limited succumbed to metastatic colorectal cancer.

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“He was diagnosed three weeks prior to his retirement in December 2016. He fought a long and hard fight until the last and lived well past prognosis given by all of his doctors when he was initially diagnosed. But we are at peace with the knowledge that, as with everything else he did, he fought back the cancer with all the energy he had in him,” she said.

Chikaonda’s widow described her departed husband as loving and a selfless patriot who believed in unified efforts to achieve the greatest good.

“He loved our nation with all his heart; fully believed in Malawi’s ability to reach all of its great potential and never stopped trying to facilitate this right until the very end.

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“Mathews always said that there is no such thing as ‘I’; one does not achieve success in life without the support of those around them. He would have said in times like these that one does not get through these difficult times alone either. He said these words often and our family hopes he will be remembered well by these words,” she said.

Former president Bakili Muluzi said he was shocked by the death of Chikaonda,

saying he has died at a time his expertise was needed to improve the economy of the country.

“I have known Professor Chikaonda for a long time. I called him from Canada where he was teaching at a university and worked with him as a Reserve Bank [of Malawi] governor and he later became minister of Finance and Economic Planning,” Muluzi said.

Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe said Chikaonda was readily available to advise when needed.

“On many times when I needed to crosscheck anything, I was approaching him. So I am so sorry for the loss,” he said.

Economics Association of Malawi President Chikumbutso Kalilombe, said, looking at the key positions Chikaonda held, it is clear that he significantly contributed to the development of the country.

“Professor Chikaonda has held many key positions in the country both in the public and private sector. It is clear that he contributed significantly to the development of the country but for us, at Ecama, we will remember the guidance he gave us in his capacity as one of our trustees,” he said.

Chairperson of the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Prince Kapondamgaga, described the death of Chikaonda as a big loss to the business community, the economy and the nation.

General Secretary of the Association in Business, Journalists in Malawi, Taonga Sabola, said Chikaonda was a great economist who drew the attention of everyone.

“He achieved everything that was there to be achieved for him. He was someone who was willing to help other people with his knowledge. In the meetings, I attended, Chikaonda was someone who, when he spoke, everyone, including fellow economists, listened,” he said.

Chikaonda died surrounded by his wife and children Alipao, Mathews and Alinane.

He was born in August 1954 and came from Tembetembe Village, Traditional Authority Kachindamoto, Mtakataka, in Dedza District.

He was a distinguished financial economist with a Doctor of Philosophy specialising in Finance obtained from the University of Massachusetts.

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