Chakwera Pays Tribute to JZU
President Lazarus Chakwera has led Malawians in viewing of the body of late veteran politician John Zenus Ungapake Tembo at the MCP headquarters in Lilongwe.
Among others, Vice President Saulos Chilima and former president Joyce Banda, were in attendance.
Tembo died last week at a private clinic in Lilongwe, and will be laid to rest in home district of Dedza. On Tuesday, another public ceremony will be held in Lilongwe.
He was one of the last-standing initial key members of the party first to rule Malawi upon independence in 1964 and a confidant of the late dictator Hastings Kamuzu Banda.
Thousands continue to pay their last respects to the veteran politician in the Malawi capital. He has been accorded a state funeral.
Chakwera, who is president of the Malawi Congress Party, went the MCP headquarters a few hours on his return from the 2023 United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Prior to the viewing, the body was collected from Goodwill Funeral Home in Lilongwe.
After the viewing ceremony, which was open to the public, the body was taken to his residence in Area 10 where prayers were conducted.
Late Tembo, affectionately known as JZU, was a former cabinet minister and a prominent figure in Malawi politics - despised and liked by many alike for his controversial status.
A representative of the Tembo family, his nephew Morgan Tembo, described him as a humble and down-to-earth man, recalling that he joined politics at a young age.
Morgan Tembo told Zodiak the late veteran politician contributed a lot to the country's social-political development.
"The late President Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda accorded key responsibilities to the late honourable JZU Tembo, in terms of work that contributed to the country's development. Among other things, he was responsible for the project that created Malawi's railway from Mchinji to Salima," he said.
Chakwera succeeded Tembo as MCP leader after the latter's several failed bids to rule Malawi.
JZU passed away on Wednesday, September 27, 2023.
His final resting place will be his home village of Kaphala in the area of Senior Chief Kaphuka in Dedza district.
The burial ceremony is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, October 4, 2023.