Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Rest in peace, Mde First Lady

I wish to join fellow Malawians, Zimbabweans, other Africans and friends of Africa around the world in mourning the sad passing of Mrs. Ethel Mutharika, the wife of Malawi's president, Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika. Mrs. Mutharika is reported to have died on Monday, May 28, 2007.

Reports say she was suffering from cancer, but very little else is known about her illness. Mrs. Mutharika was born in Zimbabwe, and is believed to have been in her 60s, according to reports sourced from Malawi's State House.

In April this year rumors spread across Malawi of her having been critically ill and then dying, but they turned out to be false. With no official word from government as to whether the first lady was indeed sick or not, speculation was rife, with one radio station actually making news out of the rumors. Later a government press release accused the media and the opposition of innuendo, but still said nothing about the condition of the first lady.

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.