Tributes continue to pour in for former first lady of the Republic of Malawi Annie Chidzira Muluzi, who died at Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, on Tuesday aged 69.
A statement which Office of the President and Cabinet released on Tuesday indicates that Muluzi, who is former president Bakili Muluzi’s estranged wife, died after a long battle with cancer.
State President Lazarus Chakwera hailed the former first lady yesterday, saying she played a crucial role, alongside Bakili, in sowing the seeds of democracy in the country.
“Through her passing, we have lost a mother, patriot and pioneer of our democracy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved Muluzi family, friends and the entire nation,” Chakwera said.
Vice President Saulos Chilima said, in a statement, that Malawians will remember Muluzi for her generosity and charity work.
He said, through her Freedom Foundation Trust, she reached out to thousands of needy and vulnerable children in the country.
“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. May our Lord bless and comfort the bereaved families during this time of grief,” Chilima said.
Former president Joyce Banda described Muluzi as a peace-loving woman who promoted love among people.
“I feel so sad because it was last week when I and the former president Bakili Muluzi had a conversation when I asked about how she was faring in hospital because she has battled cancer for a long time. Muluzi was very sad that Annie was in the hospital [for] that long.
“I am truly devastated; she is a person that I have known for many years. She was the person who called me from her sickbed when my child died. So, one thing that Malawians will remember [her for] is her empathy. A person who loved people,” Banda said.
She added that the departed Muluzi always helped her in times of need.
“She was a very good friend of mine since 1968. She was at Nasawa MYP [Malawi Young Pioneer station] and that is how she met Bakili Muluzi when he was principal at the technical college. Muluzi and I share relatives and that is how far back we go. Annie nursed my mother from State House at Seventh Day Hospital and they were both with me when my mother died,” she added.
In a statement, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said Muluzi contributed immensely to the struggle for democracy.
“She was instrumental and inspirational to all Malawians towards our struggle for the attainment of multiparty democracy and pluralism. At one point, she was temporally detained, instead of Bakili Muluzi, by the police,” the statement reads.
The United Democratic Front, in a statement which secretary general Kandi Padambo signed, said Muluzi’s name would not be erased from the political history of Malawi.
Musician and Presidential Adviser on Youth Lucis Banda was equally devastated.
“My heartfelt condolences to my dear brother Hon Atupele Austin Muluzi and the entire Muluzi family for the loss of your beloved mother.
“She was a loving and caring mother and pillar to many and, today, I join fellow Malawians and the Muluzi family in mourning our beloved mother. I pray for her soul to rest in peace,” he said.
Born on June 18 1952, she became the country’s first lady when Muluzi ascended to power in 1994.
However, in March 1999, Muluzi announced officially that they were, after 30 years of marriage, parting ways.