The tragic death of Malawi’s Vice President, the Right Hon. Dr. Saulos Klaus Chilima, along with nine other officials in a plane crash on Tuesday, has deeply affected evangelical communities across Africa. These communities have been offering heartfelt condolences and prayers.

President Lazarus Chakwera announced on Tuesday that the wreckage of the plane carrying Vice President Chilima was found with no survivors. The plane, carrying Chilima and nine others, disappeared from radar on Monday morning during an internal flight.

The military aircraft, navigating through bad weather, led to a search operation by soldiers in Chikangawa Forest, which continued overnight and into the next morning. The search ended with the discovery of the crash site. The U.S., the U.K., Norway, and Israel had offered assistance in the operation.

“I’m deeply saddened, I’m sorry to inform you all that it has turned out to be a terrible tragedy. The search and rescue team has found the aircraft near a hill. They have found it completely destroyed with no survivors,” President Chakwera said in a national address. “Despite the track record of the aircraft and the experience of the crew, something terrible went wrong with that aircraft on its flight back to Lilongwe, sending it crashing down and leaving us all devastated,” he added.

President Chakwera, an evangelical theologian and former President of the Evangelical Alliance in Malawi (EAM), expressed profound sorrow in his address to the nation. He spoke highly of Dr. Saulos Klaus Chilima, calling him a good man, devoted father and husband, patriotic citizen, and formidable vice president. Chakwera noted the great honor of having Chilima as his deputy and counselor.

Rev. Francis Mkandawire, General Secretary of the Evangelical Association of Malawi, announced that the President declared days of mourning until the burial, urging believers to pray for the affected families and the nation.

The Association of Evangelicals in Africa (AEA) also sent condolences to President Chakwera, the government, and the people of Malawi. Dr. Master Oboletswe Matlhaope, Secretary General of the AEA, cited 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 and Matthew 5:4, offering prayers for comfort and strength to the bereaved families and committing the nation to the God of all comfort.

Evangelical Alliance representatives from various African countries also extended their sympathies. “Lesotho extends its sincerest condolences to the family, government, and people of Malawi,” wrote Dr. John Maphephe, General Secretary of the Evangelical Alliance of Lesotho.

Similarly, Rafat Samir, General Secretary of the Sudan Evangelical Alliance, expressed his heartfelt condolences to the people of Malawi. “May the Lord God grant them grace and comfort in a time like this,” he said.

Pastor Tsadiku Abdo Alema, representing the Evangelical Churches Fellowship of Ethiopia, shared, “On behalf of the Evangelical Churches Fellowship of Ethiopia, I express my heartfelt condolences to the president and people of Malawi on the loss of their beloved ones.”

“I wish to express our heartfelt condolences to the people of Malawi on the loss of their beloved leaders. May the Lord God grant them grace and comfort in a time like this. We mourn with them,” stated Bishop Andrew Mwenda, General Secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia.

Bishop Esron Manigaraba from Rwanda also offered his condolences in these words, “So sorry to hear this sad news. May God comfort the families of the deceased and the entire nation of Malawi. Our deepest condolences from Rwanda.”