Teary welcome for James Nyondo
The body of founder and president of the National Salvation Front (Nasaf), James Nyondo, arrived home Thursday from South Africa where he had succumbed to lung cancer.
At exactly 13:10, the aircraft which carried Nyondo’s remains touched down at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Lilongwe, with the fallen politician’s relatives breaking down when reality finally dawned on them that Nyondo was no more.
At the cargo section of the airport – where the Nasaf president’s body came through before it was embarked on a waiting hearse – scores of Malawians who included politicians stood still, their faces cast down, silently mourning the one who will not be returning.
In the midst of the glum sobs and yells that welcomed Nyondo’s body, there were heartrending eulogies which narrated tales of a man who remained loyal to his family and friends, true to his cause for a better Malawi and faithful to God.
His sisters and brothers – weak and weary; their eyes swollen from days and nights of vigil – mourned that Nyondo departed when his elderly mother needed him most.
But with his body forever trapped in a shimmering brown casket which is expected to be interred at Area 18 Cemetery in Lilongwe today, the fallen politician remained silent, his eyes closed, his breath gone; a 47-year chapter finally closed.
At the cargo section of the airport, crows flew loosely above the buildings as if coming to welcome Nyondo’s spirit on its way back home, to his maker.
Government spokesperson Kondwani Nankhumwa, who was in the company of United Democratic Front (UDF) president Atupele Muluzi, described the late Nyondo as a unique personality who offered constructive advice when necessary.
“The President is saddened that is why he directed that the late Nyondo should be accorded a befitting funeral ceremony. Government has done everything possible to make sure the body of the late Nyondo arrives in Malawi,” said Nankhumwa.
And, while to some, Nyondo was a humble politician who offered advice and other kinds of support, he was a passionate friend to his kin.
“He was more than a brother, he was a friend. Even after going into politics, he remained a source of comfort to the family in moments of need. He remained true to his faith – that’s something I will particularly remember him for,” said Fiskani Nyondo, brother to the late James.
As the hearse carrying Nyondo’s remains left KIA to Lilongwe’s Area 47 where a vigil was being held since last Saturday, the sombre mood continued accompanying the procession, failing to diminish in the embers of the faint dirges.
According to the late politician’s family, a funeral service for Nyondo is expected to be conducted today from 10:00 at Lilongwe’s Area 47, Sector 5 Church of Christ where body-viewing is also expected to take place.
Nyondo contested in the presidential elections of 2009 and 2014, but failed in both cases. One of his most notable campaign features was the introduction of a new generation of leadership in Malawi.
Nyondo, who hailed from Chitipa, is survived by a wife, a daughter and two sons.
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