Malawi leader cancels dates following fatal accident

Blantyre, Malawi, Nov. 20 (Raphael Tenthani/News Time Africa) _ Malawi President Joyce Banda Tuesday said she regretted the deaths of two state radio staff and one ruling Peoples Party (PP) official.

President Joyce Banda – Malawi

In a statement, Presidential Press Secretary Steven Nhlane said Banda was “deeply saddened by the deaths of Mr Diet Mkwara, District People’s Party  Organising Secretary in Chitipa, and two MBC staff, Mr Vindevu Banda, a driver, and Mr Davie Mkuwu, an engineer, “who died yesterday in separate road accidents”.

A state-run Malawi Broadcasting vehicle was involved in the fatal accident Monday evening as it was leaving a function in the northern mountainous district of Rumphi where President Banda was attending a tribal ceremony for the Tumbukas, a dominant tribe in northern Malawi. Mkuwu and Banda died on the spot while three others, including a cameraman and another engineer, were rushed to hospital.

The PP vehicle was also coming from the same function when it met the accident killing Mkwara and injuring four others.

Nhlane said following the accident Banda has cancelled her two functions scheduled for Tuesday in Rumphi and the border district of Chitipa.

“Her Excellency has called off the functions because she has compassion for the people and is mourning with the bereaved,” he said.

Banda, who became president following the sudden death of President Bingu wa Mutharika from cardiac arrest in April, is increasingly coming under fire for her near daily public engagements.9

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