State funeral for dictator Banda

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The Independent Online
Kamuzu Banda, the former president of Malawi, who died on Tuesday, will receive a state funeral honouring him as the nation's founding father, despite 30 years of brutal dictatorship.

He died in a South African hospital of respiratory failure from pneumonia. Though his official birthday was given as 14 May, 1906, long before birth records were kept in the former British colony of Nyasaland, he was believed to be in his late 90s. The death certificate put his age at 99.

President Bakili Muluzi's government announced a mourning period until 3 December, when Banda will be given a state funeral in Lilongwe with full military honours. The honours for Banda, in spite of his hated rule, showed that Mr Muluzi wanted to give Malawians a chance to pay last respects to the man who led the country for most of their lives.