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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The nations mourns with you Mr President
BY The Daily Times
09:40:27 - 29 May 2007

A DARK cloud of grief hangs over the nation as we mourn the passing of the First Lady, Madame Ethel Mutharika, who died Monday afternoon.

The announcement of her death in Lilongwe Monday sent shock waves throughout the country. There was an outpouring of grief as condolences descended on State House from all quarters. President Bingu wa Mutharika’s political friends and foes alike expressed their shock and sadness at the news of the First Lady’s death.

This outpouring of condolences must assure the President that the entire nation is with him in his hour of grief. Words may not express the pain that the loss has occasioned him, but we hope the President and the First Family will take comfort in the knowledge that the nation shares their sorrow.

The death of the First Lady is a blow not to the Mutharika family only but to the entire nation. She was, after all, in her unassuming way, the Mother of the Nation. The President has lost a soul mate and the nation a mother.

They say behind every successful man is a powerful woman. We would like to assume that Madam Mutharika was a pillar of strength for the President although she never once hogged the limelight that was trained on her as First Lady. Today that pillar is gone.

As a nation we all need to stand firm with the First Citizen in this hour of need. That is the least we can do to the memory of the lady who quietly stood by her man as he carried the heavy burden of governing the country.

She urged Malawian women in the diaspora, among whose numbers she counted herself one, to be proud of their nationality and learn only those things, which would help transform Malawi into a prosperous modern democracy.

Madam Mutharika will best be remembered for her contributions towards the welfare of women and the girl child, particularly through the work of the Ethel Mutharika Foundation. It is one of the great misfortunes of our time that she did not have an opportunity to do more for the less fortunate.

We are too shocked at the death of the First Lady for us to eulogise her, except to borrow the eloquent words of PPM president Aleke Banda who described her as a graceful and dignified lady.

May her soul rest in peace.

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