Malawi Vice President Saulos Chilima Dies in Military Aircraft Crash

Lilongwe, Malawi — Malawi’s Vice President Saulos Chilima and nine others on board a military aircraft that went missing on Monday morning have all died, President Lazarus Chakwera announced.

In a national address on Tuesday afternoon, President Chakwera confirmed that the aircraft crashed in the heavily forested area of Chikangawa near the northern city of Mzuzu. The aircraft was returning to Lilongwe after failing to land at Mzuzu International Airport due to poor weather visibility.

“Dr. Saulos Klaus Chilima was a good man. A patriotic citizen of the country. A formidable vice president who served his country with distinction. It was one of the greatest honors of my life to have had him as my deputy and counselor for the past four years,” President Chakwera said.

The wreckage of the aircraft was discovered on Tuesday morning, and there were no survivors. Among those who died was former first lady Shanil Muluzi.

The aircraft left Lilongwe on Monday en route to Mzuzu, where Vice President Chilima was scheduled to attend the funeral of former minister of justice and attorney general Ralph Kasambara, who died suddenly on Friday.

According to the Malawi Defence Force, the aircraft could not land at Mzuzu International Airport due to poor visibility and was forced to return to Lilongwe. It later disappeared from radar on its return flight.

Saulos Chilima, 51, a corporate executive-turned-politician, entered mainstream politics in 2014 when he became vice president to Arthur Peter Mutharika. In 2020, he joined President Chakwera in fresh elections after the constitutional court nullified the 2019 elections.–News Desk