They flocked to the airport from all across the country on foot, on trucks and others on personal vehicles, despite the fuel shortages that may have interrupted travelling. From as early as 8am, lorries and buses carrying Malawians from all walks of life had started making way to the port of arrival.
The scene was at Kamuzu International Airport Saturday, where thousands of Malawians, led by President Joyce Banda, thronged to see the arrival of the remains of the President who died on April 5 after suffering a heart attack in Malawi.
Maybe they were some still in disbelief, who expected late president Bingu wa Mutharika, always full of life, dressed in his Chinese collar suits to come out of the plane, his traditional walking stick in hand and the other waving the DPP finger.
There were no Tchopa dancers or Amayai a Bingu singing and ululating. Instead, the Malawi Defence Force brass band played solemn music, interspersed with church choir songs.
Instead, Mutharika arrived in a goldplated casket draped with the national flag.
Among the dignitaries and government officials, not a single bright colour could be seen, but dark blues, black and dark grays.
Family members from the first lady's family led by her brother Eric Chapola walked into KIA, visibly grief-stricken.
DPP members clad in party cloth and black headgear took an opportunity to reaffirm their committment to the party.
"I can't abandon this party, its mine," a DPP campaign director told no one in particular as he greeted people.
Not to be outdone, DPP cadets fought over party t/shirts in the airport parking lot, brand new ones written '100% Bingu' on the front.
As a Kenya Airways plane touched down around 11am, crowds thronged the airport fence near the VIP, trampling on flower beds thinking that Mutharika's remains had come home.
The 12pm expected arrival of the remains became 2pm and the South African Defence plane carrying the late president's remains finally touched down 14.19 pm, over an hour after another plane carrying the former First Lady Callista and Mutharika's children had arrived.
The expected weeping and wailing from family members, party members and ordinary Malawians did not come as Mutharika's remains were brought to the national flag draped dais. It seems everyone was numb with disbelief.
First Lady Callista, children Madaliso, Mona, Tapiwa, Duwa and Mutharika's grandchildren stood looking dignified as President Joyce Banda went to condole them.
But before the prayers could start on the KIA runway, Malawians who came to pay their respects rushed out to waiting lorries to make their gateway, apparently their curiosity had been satisfied.
A heavy air of sadness engulfed State House where Mutharika's remains were taken for viewing by the president, family members and senior government officials.
Catholic women, wives of army officers lined up either side of the gate leading to main entrance of State House singing somber music.
It was not until Mutharika's remains entered the house where he collapsed that April 5 morning that people started dispersing, to leave only close relatives behind.