President Lazarus Chakwera and Vice-President Saulos Chilima yesterday led Malawians in paying tribute to former First Lady Anne Muluzi who died on Tuesday, describing her as a mother and patriot who contributed to the democratic process.
Secretary to the President and Cabinet Zanga-Zanga Chikhosi said in a statement that Anne, who was the first woman to serve as the country’s First Lady in 1994, died after a long battle with cancer at Aga Khan Hospital in Kenya. She was 69.
He said the Office of the President and Cabinet will in due course release the funeral programme.
In a condolence message to the deceased’s family, the President and First Lady Monica Chakwera said Malawi has lost a mother, a patriot and a pioneer of democracy.
The First Couple said: “As a First Lady during the time when our democracy was in its infancy, Madame Anne Muluzi played a crucial role alongside her husband [former president Bakili Muluzi] in founding the freedoms we enjoy today.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved, the Muluzi family, friends and the entire nation.”
Writing on his Facebook page, Chilima said the country shall always remember Anne for her generosity and charity works that reached out to the needy and vulnerable children as well as women through her Freedom Foundation Trust.
He said: “A good heart has stopped beating, a good soul has ascended to heaven. Even in death, her humility and privacy teach us something. Her generosity, standards, humility, integrity and the ability to embrace privacy will never be extinguished from our minds.”
In an interview yesterday, Anne’s son, Atupele Muluzi, said his mother’s death has created a big gap in the family.
He described his mother as “truly a beautiful soul” who was always cheerful.
Atupele, who is also opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) leader, said: “Her death has been painful. It has left a gaping hole in my heart. She was not only my mother, but also a mother to many. She was always cheerful, dignified, smart, humble, courageous and beautiful inside out.”
One of Anne’s close friends, Eddah Chitalo, also expressed shock with the death of the former First Lady in an interview yesterday.
She said Anne would freely interact with people regardless of their economic status.
Chitalo, who served in the country’s first multiparty Cabinet under Bakili Muluzi in 1994, said: “We became friends [with Anne] in 1972 before she became the First Lady, but we continued to be good friends until her death.
“I am really shocked because we have lost a humble and courageous woman. I will always remember her humility and good heart of uplifting other people’s lives.”
Opposition Democratic Progressive Party expressed shock in a statement yesterday.
The party, which partnered with the Atupele-led UDF during the court sanctioned Fresh Presidential Election on June 23 2020, said Anne contributed greatly to the country’s democracy.
Reads the DPP
the country is battling with medicine shortages and stock-outs in public hospitals.theft is happening even when
Reads the statement in part: “Phasom condemns the vice in the strongest terms and hopes there will be speedy conclusions of these cases in the court of law.
“It is also the society’s expectation to see the courts of law treat those found guilty in accordance with the stipulations of the current Pharmacy and Medicines Regulatory Authority (PMRA) Act.”
Phasom is a registered body of pharmacy professionals. It was established to foster high standards of pharmacy practice in all disciplines of the pharmacy profession.
It said its reaction is to the recent drug theft incident reported on December 22 2021 in Lilongwe that followed several previous arrests of suspects, but their cases have stalled in courts.
Phasom then called on the public to play its role in statement: “She was instrumental and inspirational to all Malawians towards our struggle for the attainment of multiparty democracy and pluralism.”
Former president Joyce Banda also described Anne Muluzi as “kind and extremely generous,” saying she was a person who was always reaching out to comfort the sick and the bereaved.
In a Facebook post, she said: “When my mother was sick at Blantyre Adventist Hospital she stood by me and my siblings. Sometimes sitting with me in hospital for many hours. Bringing us food from State House.
“My deepest condolences to the former president HE Bakili Muluzi, the whole Muluzi and Masula families.”
Anne Muluzi was born on June 18 1952 and is survived by son Atupele. Her first-born daughter, Esme, died on December 12 2016 after being struck by lightning in Blantyre.
Anne separated with former president Bakili Muluzi in 1999 and lived a private life abroad before returning home two years ago.