LILONGWE—Vice President Joyce Banda’s People’s Party (PP) should know for a fact who its members are while they are still alive because dead people can’t speak.

Sources tell that PP officials have been accused of threatening to confiscate a coffin following the death of Mr. L. Katunde, one of PP’s early supporters, who quit the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of Pres Bingu wa Mutharika last year.

Upon hearing of Katunde’s demise last Sunday, Banda is said to have made arrangements for a coffin.

“The Vice President was on her way to the funeral when she was informed that DPP officials led by MP Ulemu Chilapondwa have taken over the funeral to avoid conflicts. She was advised to turn back which she did at Mponela,” said a source related to the deceased.

The source said once PP officials heard that Banda wasn’t going to attend the funeral, they threatened to take the coffin which already had Katunde’s remains.

“It took Mr. Patel of Private Schools association to raise K37, 000 to pay for the coffin and expenses which the PP was claiming. I have never heard of people asking for money for their assistance,” said the relative.

Patel confirmed the fracas at thefuneral, saying it was a shame that people had to fight over a coffin. It was disrespectful to deceased and his family, he pointed out.

A funeral in Malawi is a political function of sorts as was the case at Katundu’s burial. Chilapondwa claimed that the late Katundu, who was once a principal for Chimbiya Academy, was still a member of the DPP before he passed away.

To PP officials, if Katundu wasn’t one of their own, the dead man didn’t deserve their help.

Katundu is gone and unless the dead start talking, one can’t tell who is telling the truth between the DPP and PP. Banda was dismissed from the DPP last December after she was accused of engaging in anti-party actitivies. Ahead of the 2014 general elections, the DPP settled for Mutharika’s younger brother Education Minister Peter Mutharika to succeed the president. Banda apparently refused to go with the plan.–maravipost

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