At exactly 15:15 hours on Thursday, the casket carrying the remains of politician Peter Chupa began its slow descent into its last home of Henry Henderson Institute (HHI) Cemetery in Blantyre.
That was the last step of Chupa’s 62 year-old walk on earth which saw him becoming a Member of Parliament in Blantyre City Central in 1996 and his subsequent appointments into various cabinet positions.
Towards 2004 general elections, Chupa joined forces with Brown Mpinganjira to form a National Democratic Alliance (NDA), a political grouping which led a crusade to oppose democratic Malawi founding president Bakili Muluzi into seeking a third term in office.
From the eulogies from government, family and friends, Chupa sacrificed his energy just to make sure that democracy in Malawi deepened.
“His contributions to Malawi is well documented,” said Local Government and Rural Development Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa who represented Present Arthur Peter Mutharika at the funeral service.
“Peter Chupa was a shining example in as far as issues of integrity, hardwork and patriotism are concerned. From the time he was elected as Member of Parliament he worked tirelessly for the betterment of this country. From the time he was serving as cabinet minister in different portifolios, he proved a high level integrity and someone who loved this country.
“It is with that background that His Excellency Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika directed that his body be laid to rest with full military honours,” added Nankhumwa.
To the family, Chupa was a pillar of strength and unity, if eurogies from a family representative Gerlad Banda was anything to go by.
Said Banda: “He listened to all of us. He cared for all of us- both young and poor, he anchored us together as one family.”
Apart from politics, Chupa also dedicated his time to the promotion of his Ngoni culture a feat that saw him decorated as an Impi (minister or advisor ) of Inkosi ya Makosi Gomani of the Maseko Ngoni.
“He was an Impi who feared God. He was always there for me everytime I needed him. His wisdom and understanding of our culture was profound,” said the youthful Inkosi ya Makosi Gomani V.
To the St. Michaels and All Angels C.C.A.P. Church, Chupa never let his political business interfere with church affairs and Christian life.
Escorting Chupa through his last mile were former presidents Bakili Muluzi and Joyce Banda, former chief justices Richard Banda and Lovemore Munlo, Henry Mussa , Brown Mpinganjira and Ziliro Chibambo among other notable figures.
The former minister joined politics after being a successful businessman with his shoe making business and became a member of Parliament for Blantyre City Central – Ndirande in a 1996 by-election.
Chupa, who retired from active politics in 2014, died at Blantyre Adventist Hospital on Tuesday is survived by a wife, four children and seven grand children.
*Text and pictures by Austin Kakande, MBC Online