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Saturday, June 30, 2007

I no longer fear death—Bingu
15:50:25 - 29 June 2007

President Bingu wa Mutharika took time out yesterday to thank all Malawians for the support they gave him during the funeral of First Lady Madam Ethel Mutharika, saying the death of his wife had taught him not to fear death and face the world with courage.

In a statement issued Thursday to mark the end of the official mourning period for the late First Lady, Mutharika recollected that thousands of Malawians and non-Malawians from all walks of life, rich and poor, in Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Blantyre dropped all what they were doing to pay their last respects to the First Lady.

“I am told that many even walked on foot and braved the rain and cold and bid farewell to the mother of this nation. There were over two hundred choirs from all faiths and denominations in Malawi and Zimbabwe, including the Quadria Muslim Associations of Malawi, that sang hymns and songs of praise day and night, for thirteen days, from the day the First Lady passed away up to the day she was laid to rest on June 9.

“I want you to know that the songs you sang were the best mourning that anyone can get. I was truly comforted because while some of your songs made me weep, others comforted me and wiped away my tears,” said Mutharika.

He said he is truly overwhelmed by the support and sympathies people gave him and for the love they had for the First Lady.

“I never imagined for a moment that you had so much love for us. I want you all to know that I am deeply grateful and pray that God the Almighty will reward you abundantly…we received large amounts of food such as maize, flour, sugar, rice, fish, meat, bread, cakes, buns and scones. These helped us feed over three thousand people each day throughout the mourning period,” he said.

He also said the family received generous condolences in the form of money which he said would be deposited in the Ethel Mutharika Memorial Fund account and would be used to construct a mausoleum for the First Lady at Ndata Farm in Thyolo where she was laid to rest.

He said the death of the First Lady has taught him a number of lessons which include that his God is a loving and kind God, saying God’s calendar and plans are different from people’s plans and that the death had shown that God is always there to comfort and strengthen.

The second lesson, he said, is that when a tragedy such as the death of his wife occurred, one knows true friends, saying the value of friendship surpasses all the gold, diamonds and silver in the world.

The third lesson learnt during the sad period, he said, was that he no longer feared death.

“This is because death will come when it will come. The death of my wife gave me new courage to face the world. Therefore, death has no venom and no power over me,” he said.

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