HARARE, April 8 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has sent a message of condolences to the people of Malawi following the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika.
In a statement issued on Sunday, Mugabe said he learnt with a deep sense of shock and disbelief of President wa Mutharika's death as he was a colleague, a dear brother and a close comrade.
President wa Mutharika dedicated his professional and political career to the cause of Africa, all the time searching for innovative ways and strategies for improving the condition of its deprived and marginalized peoples, said Mugabe.
He said President wa Mutharika's agricultural programs of fighting hunger and improving rural incomes will forever stand as a spectacular example on the continent.
Mugabe said Africa will forever remember President wa Mutharika' s Pan-African dedication through advocating for greater sub-regional unity, integration and harmonized planning.
"It is telling that the late departed who was also the outgoing chairman of the African Union, was due to host the continental body later this year in July, in spite of Malawi's economic challenges. Africa will miss its great son," he said.
He also said President wa Mutharika's death touched him personally as he had the privilege of hosting him two months ago in Harare.
"Only two months ago, early this February, I had the privilege of hosting the late President in Harare. Together we explored ways of defending our economies and countries against illegal sanctions imposed on us by the West," Mugabe said.
Mugabe said on behalf of the government and the people of Zimbabwe, and his own behalf, the whole nation is joining Malawi in mourning the passing on of President Bingu wa Mutharika, a cadre of Africa.
Wa Mutharika died on Thursday at the age of 78 due to a cardiac arrest. He became president of Malawi in 2004 and was re-elected in 2009.