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Malawian bloggers mourn First Lady

Malawian bloggers join the rest of the nation in sending sincere condolences to the State President on the loss of First Lady Madamme Ethel Mutharika, who passed away Monday 28 May, 2007. Her death is a big blow to Malawi as a nation. The burial is scheduled for Saturday 9 June at the president's Ndatha Farm in Thyolo, Southern Malawi.

Mlauzi, who blogs on Afrika Aphukira, says the First Lady was charitable and will be greatly missed:

Mrs. Mutharika founded the Ethel Mutharika Foundation that was helping poor Malawians and orphaned children, an important intervention at a critical time for Malawi just recovering from severe food shortages, and still reeling from HIV/AIDS. She will be sorely missed. May your soul rest in peace, Mde First Lady.

Kondwani Munthali, who covered the state president's functions several times and was once a master of ceremonies, describes his personal encounters with the First Couple:

I knew Madame Ethel Mutharika just like many ordinary Malawians did. … Though she never directly participated in politics. Later, we saw her in Area 18 at her relations and funerals and various church events. Just like her husband Bingu, Malawi's First Lady was a dedicated Christian. She was a woman of faith, strong one for that matter. In her pain and suffering, she smiled, reached out to her women empowerment projects, did her farming…

Yet she smiled and her family opted to spare Malawians that pain and remained strong in discharging their duties. President Bingu wa Mutharika has carried his own family burden and that of the State without affecting the other. In many cases he sacrificed the love of his life for the burderns of the State.

As I became privileged to cover the President, the more I realised how the President relied on the first lady.
One day at a public event, as a Master of Ceremony, I stood up to stop a particular group dancing, the President nodded in agreement, the First Lady disagreed as the crowds were cheering…

In a post titled Malawi in a state of mourning, another Malawian blogger, Clement Nthambazale, prays for the president:

I wish the president divine strength and that the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard his heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

While Cryton Chikoko in UK goes a bit controversial in his prayers as he offers his sympathies to the president:

As the saying goes, “behind any successful man there is a woman” I wish Mutharika the divine strength not only to bear the loss of his longtime wife but also not to slacken from his good agenda of developing the country.

Zikomo Friday also extends condolences to the president Bingu wa Mutharika. And a senior journalist Joe Mlenga visited the home district of the president this week on an assignment. In a post describing the impressive district hospital there, he devotes some space to imagining the pain in the president's life at the loss of his wife.

I can only imagine how President Bingu wa Mutharika is feeling at this hour, having lost his wife of over 40 years, Ethel. I feel for the man, for I have lost family members, relations and very close friends. At that hour the world seems upside down and it sometimes takes years for one to heal inside. Ethel Mutharika was a dignified lady, quiet and really fit the mould of First Lady. I pray that Bingu will face the loss with courage and not feel all is lost. Otherwise he may withdraw from normal life and Malawi will as a nation be affected gravely. God is on your side Bingu, carry on, and may the Lord Jehovah grant you peace.

Peter Jere, a Malawian theologian based in South Africa, commends several opposition politicians for being available and supporting Mutharika at this trying time. He further contends that the death of Mrs Mutharika has united Malawians and expresses the wish that this could be genuine and permananent change:

Some have suggested that this whole unity prevailing in our country now is temporal (God forbid!). They are saying that these politicians are behaving like this now because they too are married men and know that it’s not a game or zamasewera when mkazi (wife) dies pakhomo (in the home). They know that mawa (tomorrow) it may be themselves going through the same painful experience hence a need for them to behave now. They probably have realized that maliro (death) sees no tribe, colour, status, richness but just invade your home and leaves you heart broken.

And finally Ndagha wishes that there is calm and peace as this is first time in Malawi to have a funeral for a First Lady.

10 comments

  • On behalf of BMG(Blantyre Merchants Group) Holdings Comapny and on own behalf , Iwould dearly like to offer our heartfelt condolences to His Excellency President Bingu wa Mutarika and his family on the reported death of his wife the First Lady, Madam Ehel Mutharika.

    Chauncy Mopho Jere
    Executive Chairman
    BMG(Blantyre Merchants Group) Holding Company.

  • Jean Petersen

    Malawi has lost a great woman who stood by her husband in a fight for democracy in our country. Our thoughts go to the president in his time of mourning and sorrow. We deaply sympathise with the president. Our condolences to the family

  • duncan msaka

    i deaply sympathise with the president and the country at this time of loss..rip madam

  • Enockc Chipinga

    Malawi has lost a great woman who stood by her husband in a fight for democracy in our country. Our thoughts go to the president in his time of mourning and sorrow. We deaply sympathise with the president. Our condolences to the family

  • Pastor Morris and Chikondi Mpokosa

    As Pastors of Living Waters In Croydon and Citizens of Malawi we express our grief at the loss of our beloved Mother. She has been a mother who has taken serious concern for the eldery and the most vulnerable people of the society. Our sincere condolences to the state president and the nation of Malawi. Our prayer is that the preseident will find solace in the Lord and may the Lord strengthen in him at this most vulnerable point of his life. This should be taken as a time in history when he can be supported to get new strength from the Lord. May His grace abound for the State President of the Republic of Malawi.

  • y hearty sympathies go the Honorable President for the lost of his beloved especially now that he is pulling the country and making it corruption free. The wife has been very much behind his development efforts to eradicate poverty especially in attending to the needs of the AIDs victims and vulnerables adults. I pray that the President will receive the gift of courage to endure the loss like Mary the mother of Our Lord at Calvary. I pray that her soul will rest in peace and believing in the resurrection of the dead the president may be consoled.
    Simeon Banda, Kasungu

  • y hearty sympathies go the Honorable President for the loss of his beloved wife especially now that he is pulling the country and making it corruption free. The wife has been very much behind his development efforts to eradicate poverty especially in attending to the needs of the AIDs victims and vulnerables adults. I pray that the President will receive the gift of courage to endure the loss like Mary the mother of Our Lord at Calvary. I pray that her soul will rest in peace and believing in the resurrection of the dead the president may be consoled.
    Simeon Banda, Kasungu

  • Goodrick & Esther Ulalo

    I was very shocked to hear about the first lady Madamme Ethel Muthalika’s death. She was very kind and very helpful to anyone. May her soul rest in peace.

  • […] Victor covered in the last Malawi round-up, Malawi has been mourning the death of Mrs. Ethel Mutharika, the wife of the Malawian president Dr. […]

  • […] (among many) include the last post about academic freedom I did in April this year, and then when Malawi’s First Lady passed away in 2007. This was news that attracted attention of bloggers all over the world. The two posts and many […]

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