State funeral for Malawi’s first First Lady

The first Malawian woman to hold the position of First Lady, Anne Chidzira Muluzi, has been laid to rest.

Mrs Muluzi died of cancer at a hospital in Kenya on 28 December at the age of 69.

She was wife to Malawi’s second President, Bakili Muluzi, but was the first woman to hold the position of First Lady because Malawi’s first President, Hastings Banda was not married.

Banda lived with personal secretary Cecilia Kaedzamira for most of the 30 years he was Malawi’s president and gave her the title of Official Hostess.

The funeral ceremony was presided over by President Lazarus Chakwera, who granted the former First Lady a state funeral with full military honours at a primary school in her home village of Masula, just outside the capital, Lilongwe.

The late Anne Muluzi was very highly regarded for being a mother figure who preferred to take a back seat and not engage in partisan politics in a country where no less than three former First Ladies at some point served as parliamentarians.

Her funeral was a national event attended by leaders from different religious denominations and from across the political divide.

She is survived by a son, Atupele, who is president of the opposition United Democratic Front, a party his father led when he was Malawi’s president between 1994 and 2004.


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