Led by President Peter Arthur Mutharika, Thousands of Malawians braved the heavy rains in Mzuzu to pay their last respect to the late Catholic Bishop of Mzuzu Diocese Joseph Mukasa Zuza at St Peter’s Cathedral in the city.
Bishop Zuza died on Thursday, January 15 in a car accident when his car overturned at Nthungwa area between Chikangawa and Mzuzu on his way to Mzuzu from his home Mhlafuta.
The burial ceremony was graced by thousands of Catholic Adherents from other dioceses across the country and Catholic Bishops from neighbouring Zambia and Tanzania.
There were also religious leaders from various denominations and traditional leaders as well as politicians from the country’s various political parties.
The politicians included, Former Vice President Khumbo Kachali, Leader of Opposition Dr Lazarus Chakwera, the Speaker of the National Assembly Richard Msowoya, and Mzuzu City Mayor, William Mkandawire, just to mention some.
Religious leaders like General Secretary of Nkhoma Synod Rev Vasco Kachipapa and General Secretary of Livingstonia Synod Rev Levi Nyondo were some of the well known who were in attendance.
The traditional leaders represented by Paramount Chief Kyungu of Karonga and Paramount Chief Inkosi Yamakhosi M’mbelwa V where the deceased hailed from, witnessed the burial.
There were also prominent foreign dignitaries like the Apostolic Nuncio to Malawi and Zambia Rev Julio Morrat.
Delivering a eulogy on behalf of President Mutharika, Vice President Saulos Chilima said President Mutharika was saddened with the death of Bishop Mukasa Zuza.
He said the country and the Church at large have lost an important leader who was courageous and did not only help the church, but also contributed a lot towards economic development of the country.
Chilima speaking in fluent Tumbuka said the bishop used to give guidance to others, both in the church and government, and taught many on how to live well in the Christian life.
He said Bishop Zuza served well during his tenure and his behaviour showed that he was really called by God to serve people.
“We have lost a person who was loving and he has left us destitute, as we will have nowhere to go to seek spiritual assistance,” said Chilima.
The Vice-President said Late Bishop Zuza was a man who was leading the nation in prayer life and in the way of Life.
In his remarks, Apostolic Nuncio to Malawi and Zambia Rev. Julio Morrat said it is really sad that the church has lost a man of his calibre.
“I came in September last year and this is the time that I came to be close with Bishop Mukasa and I was impressed with his commitment to God. He had timetable for prayer,” he said adding that
Bishop Zuza’s deep understanding of God helped him to lead a life he was.
A family representative said the family has lost a pillar. He said Bishop Zuza did not forget his family as he was paying them a visit and supporting them from time to time.
President Mutharika contributed K2 million towards the funeral ceremony expenses.
Late Bishop Zuza was born on 22nd October 1955 and was ordained priest of Mzuzu Diocese on July 25, 1982. He was consecrated Bishop of Mzuzu Diocese on May 6th 1995 at Mzuzu Stadium.
In additional to serving as Bishop of Mzuzu Diocese and Chancellor of Catholic University of Malawi, Zuza had been President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Malawi since 2011 and Chairperson of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi.
Karonga Diocese which Bishop Mtumbuka heads was born from Mzuzu Diocese under Bishop Zuza’s tenure. The late bishop succeeded Monsignor John Roche as head of Mzuzu Diocese.