Amunandife Mkumba, the President for Malawian Democratic Union, was a humble man.
He never hesitated to appraise those interested with the how-dids of the pre-1994 era.
He never asked for a cabinet position, even when former Head of State and Government, Bakili Muluzi, was in power; yet the two individuals had their own way of knowing each other well.
From 1994 to three days ago, the day of his farewell to this blueless planet Earth, he was never seen driving.
In winter, he had at hand a jacket and umbrella as companions.
In summer, the umbrella shielded him from the sun as he walked- on foot, always- along the Masauko Chipembere Highway.
And now he is gone; to trod along the Masauko Chipembere Highway no more.
It is painful. This.
The last time I came into contact with him was four days ago, in a CLAIM Bookshop in Blantyre.
He was drinking Fanta-Passion.
He was sitting down.
It took him 20 minutes to finish the 300 ml bottle. No surprise. After all, he was never in a hurry in his entire life.
Never in a hurry to get to the country's presidency. That is why he never talked of 'going into the bush'.
He was satisfied leading a subsistence life, at least that is the impression one got.
The only time he complained of being in financial difficulties of sorts was late last year; when he bemoaned that, since May 2009, Muluzi had stopped giving hand-outs.
In a way,this had become his way of life- following Muluzi to his political meetings, and getting 'something' in return.
Not many things, just 'something', and you had Mkumba going on with life.
I talked to Mkumba in that CLAIM Bookshop. He said he was doing well.
He told me we would meet at Church.
Church? Yes. Since two years ago, Mkumba has been coming to our Church in Blantyre Central Business District.
Not that he was a member; he wanted to become one.
For two solid years, he has been investigating our church and partaking of the Sacrament.
He was a man who wanted to no more about things left half-explained, or unexplained, in the Bible and other books of scripture.
He was religious.
Every now and then, Mkumba would go to his Lower Ndirande Chibuku Tavern. He owned the land, and the place.
So, he often went there to collect his rentals.
These visits became more frequent after May 2009. The reason is obvious, as explained earlier on: Muluzi's troubles, troubles that have disturbed his fat pockets.
No more will Malawians see one of the people who fought for multiparty democracy trod along the Masauko Chipembere Highway. Almost hopelessly.
That was Mkumba for us.
Now gone in form, but to remain with us in spirit.
In our minds his memories to sit, and stay, and flourish.
As they say, go thee well our friend; to meet again, you and us- a thousand years from now.
Amunandife Mkumba: See you again, our friend, a thousand years from now