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Scores mourn James Nyondo

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Scores of Malawians and other nationalities yesterday paid their last respects to founder and president of the National Salvation Front (Nasaf), James Nyondo, who succumbed to lung cancer at Steve Biko Hospital in South Africa on Friday last week.

He was buried at Lilongwe’s Area 18 Cemetery after a church service at Area 47 Church of Christ where eulogies were delivered by different individuals.

Some notable dignitaries who attended the funeral ceremony included Speaker of the National Assembly Richard Msowoya, Leader of Opposition Lazarus Chakwera, Information Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa and former Vice-President Khumbo Kachali.

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Others included Kamuzu Chibambo, who is president of the People’s Transformation Party (Petra), George Nnesa, who is president of the Malawi Forum for Unity and Development (Mafunde) and Mark Katsonga of the People’s Progressive Movement (PPM).

Nasaf Secretary General, Lester Chikoya, described Nyondo as a visionary leader who was keen on seeing that every Malawian is socio-economically developed.

Chikoya further pledged that he and his fellow party members will do everything possible to ensure Nyondo’s dream lives on. He drew parallels with other famous world leaders whose dreams got realised years after their deaths.

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“In 1961, JF Kennedy [former US president] declared that before the end of 10 years, an American would land on the moon and come back safely. He died in 1964 but in 1969 the first American landed on the moon.

“The vision got realised even after Kennedy’s death because a great vision is not a vision for an individual but for the nation. The late Nyondo had a vision and we will make sure that vision is realised,” said Chikoya.

He further hinted on the current administration having adopted some of Nyondo’s policies like the decent housing programme.

“It was also his vision that police officers should be properly protected; that they should not be trained how to use guns only for them to be supplied with clubs. That is why they are being needlessly killed.

“He wanted the city of Lilongwe to be clean. There is no leader who can say every tree in town should be a urinal or a toilet. But this is happening in our city. He had a vision that poverty can end if we mechanise agriculture,” said Chikoya.

In her eulogy, Nyondo’s wife, who hails from South Africa, described him as a man who was more than a husband. She said he was a friend who always made sure his family lived in peace.

“He has left a mark in my life that will never be erased until we meet again,” she mourned.

Both Nankhumwa and Nnesa, who spoke on behalf of President Peter Mutharika and all opposition political parties, respectively, described the late Nyondo as a youthful politician who strove to make Malawi a better country.

According to the fallen politician’s family, Nyondo started complaining about chest pains about a year ago but it was on 21 May this year when his wife took him to hospital where he was diagnosed with a tumour between the vertebrates.

“Last week Tuesday, [doctors] told us that it was lung cancer that was in stage four which meant it had already spread… overall, my husband fought a good fight of faith,” mourned Nyondo’s wife.

The former Nasaf president, who hailed from Chitipa and contested in the two previous presidential elections, is survived by a wife and three children.

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