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Africa
Apr 23 2012 1:53PM
 
Motlanthe attends Mutharika's funeral
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe. Picture: Gallo Images
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Phuti Mosomane and Sapa

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe will attend the funeral of Malawian president Bingu wa Mutharika, who died earlier this month, an official said on Monday.

International relations spokesman Clayson Monyela said Motlanthe would be accompanied by International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

The 78-year-old former African Union chairman died on April 5 after a heart attack. He was flown to South Africa and pronounced dead on arrival at a military hospital. He had led Malawi from 2004. He would be buried on Monday at a family mausoleum on his farm 20km from Blantyre.

On April 14, thousands of Malawians waited with new President Joyce Banda as a South African military aircraft touched down at Kamuzu International Airport, ferrying the remains of a man known to some of his countrymen as "Father of the Nation" and to others as "Mr know-it-all".

Several African heads of state, including his close ally President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, were reportedly expected to attend the state funeral.

Malawi has declared Monday a national holiday for the burial of its late president Bingu wa Mutharika, with seven African heads of state expected to attend.

New President Joyce Banda's office declared April 23 a public holiday "to give the former president a dignified and honourable state funeral and many Malawians an opportunity to attend the funeral ceremony". Additional reporting by AFP

phutim@thenewage.co.za

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