By Dyson Kamwana
Kasungu, September 6, Mana: The body of former Minister of Persons with Disabilities in the Joyce Banda Administration, late Rachel Kamchacha Kachaje was laid to rest on Saturday at Linga in Traditional Authority Mwase in Kasungu.
The burial ceremony was accorded military honours as per State President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera’s directive to honour the former cabinet minister.
Speaking on behalf of President Chakwera, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Lingson Belekanyama, described the late Kachaje as humble and woman of integrity.
“The Office of the President and Cabinet and the whole country has lost a hardworking woman.
“The Late Kachaje demonstrated that she was a woman of integrity and she was very humble,” Belekanyama said.
The late Kachaje served as Minister of Persons with Disabilities in 2013 during the Joyce Banda regime when she also got international recognition by various international organisations.
She also chaired various organisations at international level.
Former President Joyce Banda, who was also present during the funeral, said the late Kachaje played a vital role in fighting for human rights, especially for persons with disabilities.
“Both at local and international level, the late Kachaje stood firm in advocating for the rights of persons with various disabilities.
“She deserves to be honoured as a champion of the transformation of public perception towards people with disabilities,” Banda said.
Member of Parliament for Kasungu West Constituency, Honourable Jailos Bonongwe said the loss of late Kachaje is so great.
“We have lost a very proactive member of the community who was exemplary to people with disabilities,” said Bonongwe.
In 2001, Southern African Federation of the Disabled recognised her and was elected its chairperson between 2002 and 2007. She was the first woman to chair the federation.
In 2002 together with her friends, she established Disability Women in Africa, an organisation that championed for the rights of disabled women in Africa.
In 2007, she was elected deputy chairperson for Disabled People International responsible for development and was in 2011 re-elected on the same position.
Despite not being a politician, in October 2013, she was appointed Minister of Disability and Elderly Affairs.
Kachaje passed away on Thursday, September 3, after a short illness. She died at the age of 62 and is survived with a husband. She hailed from Linga Village, Traditional Authority Mwase in Kasungu District.