Tributes continue to pour in for late Mia and Belekanyama

Late Belekanyama and Mia

* My deepest condolences to the Mia family and all Malawians—Patience Namadingo

* 3 days of mourning in Malawi. The Dr. Will resume social media activities from Saturday

* Mia made me discover the true meaning of purpose-driven life—Gerald Kazembe

* We have lost a symbol of loyalty, dedication and discipline in Hon. Belekanyama—Eisenhower Mkaka

* Belekanyama once said even MCP itati yatha I will support it’s symbols

By Duncan Mlanjira

As the country is in the second of the 3-day National Period of Mourning, tributes continue to pour in for two of the senior Cabinet Ministers — late Sidik Mia (Minister of Transport and Public Works as well as Malawi  Congress Party (MCP) Vice-president) and late Lingson Belekanyama (Minister of Local Government and Rural Development).

The two succumbed to COVID-19 related complications on Tuesday to add on to over 60 other victims who have lost their lives since the New Year’s Day as the second wave of the pandemic takes its toll.

Situation as of Tuesday

The deaths of these two prominent politicians and the rate of deaths since January 1, coupled with the exponential increase of COVID-19 news cases being registered on a daily basis, has led President Lazarus Chakwera to declare a State of National Disaster.

The country’s celebrated musician of the Mashup fame, Patience Namadingo, wrote on his Facebook wall:

“It’s 17:04 (four past 5), Tuesday the 12th of January 2021. I hear the maid talking to the gardener about a funeral.

“I ask whose funeral they are talking about and she tells me: ‘Hon. Sidik Mia is no more’.

Patience Namadingo

“In disbelief, I quickly reach for my phone and Google the name Sidik Mia hoping to see results that will tell me this was false news. But Wikipedia gave me a profile in past tense — ‘Was’.

“Today I have spent my whole day in my home studio alone behind closed doors. I should have checked current affairs online.

“Three days mourning in Malawi. The Dr. Will resume social media activities from Saturday.

“My deepest condolences to the Mia family and all Malawians. Keep safe NAMAFANS.”

Gerald Kazembe and late Mia

In his eulogy, Gerald Kazembe asks: “Why, Sidik Mia? You convinced me to come out of the cocoon of opulence and join you in the sacred fight for a better life for our fellow man, what have you just now done Sidik Mia?

“You taught me the true meaning of humility, you made me discover the true meaning of the purpose driven life; why have you so suddenly left me. At the end of each passing day, we slept a little better knowing how many lives we silently impacted, why have you then left the very people Allah tasked you to impact?

“You were a servant of Allah and you conferred upon me the title of the ‘Lion of the Poor’. You were the source of my inspiration, you were so many things to many other people but to me your were simply my friend and brother. Why have you left me alone, Sidik?

“Lord wake me up from this dream — this is a nightmare — this cannot be! You’ll forever have a special and permanent place in my heart, I’ll always love you, Sidik Mia. May your beautiful soul, Muhammad Sidik Mia, rest in eternal peace!”

Martha Chikuni wrote on her Facebook page: “Death Be Not Proud — you have taken Hon. Sidik Mia!! I am at a loss for words.

“This man was a kind soul, a gallant fighter, a warrior. He fought for change, he fought for freedom for Malawians. He loved this country and he sacrificed for it so much.

“My heart goes out to his wife — my dear sister, Hon. Abida Mia, his children and the entire family. Thank you for everything you did for me and thousands of others. May his soul rest in eternal peace.”

Henry Msonkho disclosed that one day, after he had taken his seat on a flight out of the country, he was astounded and had pleasant pleasure when he discovered who was to be his passenger seat mate.

Msonkho with late Mia on that flight

“I was joined by this famous and seasonal politician. We talked and discussed social and not political issues all the way to my final destination,” he said.

“One thing I learnt from Muhammad Sidik Mia was what he said — that : ‘Leaders, especially natural leaders, don’t lead for praise. However, I thought about why people  praise them. You obviously see some admirable qualities in them  and how they accomplish certain tasks and prove themselves as role models for others’.

“[He had continue to say]: ‘Praise those qualities, and you are in fact praising them. It will be indirect, but impactful just as much. Why their qualities and not them directly? Because if done correctly, they’ll “get it” but it will lack any of the artificiality of insincere flattery’. Sad to hear about his demise,” Msonkho said.

Good old days

Moloto Nyirenda said he was still in shock, saying “life is too short and priceless” while a “devastated” Earnest Maganga said: “I can’t comprehend it. We went to places around the country campaigning. We had great plans together. Am short of words. Farewell, comrade Sidik Mia. Condolences to Hon. Habida Mia and the entire family. We mourn with you.”

Malawi Congress Party’s Eisenhower Mkaka, Minister of Foreign Affairs, said in Hon Lingson Belekanyama, the party has lost a symbol of loyalty, dedication and discipline.

“It is an incalculable loss to the Malawi Congress Party! May your precious soul rest in eternal peace.”

Innocent Kadammanja said it is such a hard blow to the family, saying they have lost the pillar and advisor to many: “The Institutional memory he was has gone to rest at the unexpected hour. May his soul rest in eternal peace.”

Civil rights leader, MacDonald Sembereka described Belekanyama as “a rare gem — so humble and down to earth. A real symbol of a servant leader”.

Max Biwi said Belekanyama “was really Malawi Congress Party inside out” to which Lufesa Masamba Msemwe agreed, saying: “Symbol of loyalty indeed. I remember him one day saying even MCP itati yatha I will support its symbols.”

Coronavirus alert

Binnwell Kachikopa said Belekanyama was “very dedicated, father to many, loyal to true life and a strong pillar of the real world”.

As people made their euologies, Kondwani Cheyo Nyondo intoned that this should be “a big lesson to politicians and policy makers. Our health delivery system is in dilapidated state and nobody seems to care apart from erecting personal mansions in the cities of Malawi.

“The very unfortune thing is that this disease is less referral. One can not wake up and decide to seek medical attention in India or South Africa because of COVID-19.

Situation in Africa as of
Tuesday, Malawi 30th

“Not all. You have to brave for your own life with the marginalised in make shift tents at KCH, Queens and Mzuzu. What an equity and equitable pandemic.

“LESSON: Politicians revamp Health Care Delivery system, otherwise COVID-19 is less referral. Rest Well Honourable Ministers.”