Malawi’s President,Professor Peter Mutharika and his vice,Saulosi Chilima on 19th January 2015 led thousands of Malawians from across the county in mourning Bishop Joseph Mukasa Zuza of Mzuzu Diocese who was buried at St Peters Cathedral in Mzuzu.
Some of the political leaders that also attended the burial ceremony included Leader of Opposition Lazarus Chakwera,former vice-president Khumbo Kachali and former First lady Callista Muthalika.
Other notable figures included politicias Uladi Mussa and Alliance for Democracy president Enock Chihana.Paramount Chief Kyungu and Inkosi ya Makosi Mmbelwa V also attended the ceremony.
Also present at the event were Catholic priests,Bishops and religious men and women including representatives from AMECEA,Zambia Episcopal Conference and Tanzania Episcopal Conference.
The Pope’s envoy to Malawi and Zambia,His Excellency Archbishop Julio Murrat led the requiem mass which was celebrated by all Bishops and priests present.
At around 2:22 pm the body of late Bishop Zuza was lowered into the grave.
In his eulogy,Episcopal Conference of Malawi’s (ECM) Vice Chairman,Archbishop Thomas Msusa of Blantyre Archdiocese said the country has lost a great leader.
“We are shocked with the untimely death of Bishop Zuza.The country has lost a prophetic and courageous leader.It is nightmare that he is finally gone to be with the Lord,”said Msusa.
He said Bishop Zuza was was a humble person and because of his humility and sense of humour,ECM is failing to come to terms with his death.
Archbishop Msusa also described late Bishop Zuza as a man for all classes of people.
“We have lost a great person who did a great job for his country.He provided good leadership for his nation.As a country,we all mourn him,”he said.
During the ceremony,Archbishop Msusa read out a list of individuals who sent their condolence messages to ECM and the following is the list
His Excellency,Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika,President of the Republic of Malawi,Right Honourable,Mr. Saulos Chilima,Vice President of the Republic of Malawi,Rev. Fr. Ferdinand Lugonzo,Secretary General of AMECEA,His Eminence Berhaneyesus Cardinal Souraphiel CM,Chairmain of AMECEA,His Eminence Wilfrid Cardinal Napier OFM,Archbishop of Durban,South Africa,Msgr. Bert Van Megen,His Grace,Protase Rugambwa,President of Pontifical Missionary Societies (PMS),Rome,His Grace T.G Mpundu,Archbishop of Lusaka and President of Zambia Episcopal Conference,His Grace John Baptist Odama,President of Uganda Episcopal Conference,His Grace,Tarcisius J.M Ngalalekumtwa,President of Tanzania Episcopal Conference,His Grace,Abune Tesfaselassie Medhin,Archbishop of Ethiopia,His Grace Daniel Adwok and His Lordship,Abba Kidane,Bishop of Karen,Eritrea.
Bishop Zuza died on Thursday (15th January,2015) in a road accident after a car he was travelling in overturned at a place called Nthungwa.
Bishop Zuza was born on October 2, 1955 at Malembo Village,Chief Mbelwa,Mzimba District , and was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Mzuzu on July 25, 1982.On March 9,1995,Saint. John Paul II appointed him Bishop of Mzuzu and consecrated on May 6, 1995.
In 2010 Bishop Zuza’s diocese was split, partly out of a desire to ease transportation problems in the area.
When the Diocese of Karonga was erected that year from territory of the Mzuzu diocese, Bishop Zuza said the split was “necessary, because it is quite taxing to travel to some places from headquarters.” He described difficult travel on poor roads in all-terrain vehicles to parishes as far as 250 miles away.
In addition to having been Bishop of Mzuzu, in Malawi’s north, Bishop Zuza was, until his death, president of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi, since 2011.
Steering the Malawi Bishop’s conference, Bishop Zuza spoke out for justice and upliftment of the marginalized, slamming the roots of the socio-economic problems of Malawi, which had attracted criticism from political corners.
Bishop Zuza participated in the extraordinary Synod on Family that concluded last October, where he spoke up for Catholic teaching on family sought to uphold the sanctity of the Sacrament of marriage.
A conservative and promoter of culture and traditions, the African prelate had expressed concerns over Western influence affecting African culture, particularly on the issues of homosexuality and same-sex marriage.