Mutharika says wedding has cleared ‘mysteries’

Malawi’s newly married President Peter Mutharika on Saturday said his wedding with former lawmaker Gertrude Maseko the new First Lady has proved that he is a family man and cleared what he called “mysteries.”

Speaking before some 6,000 villagers and dignitaries treated to a reception feast with traditional dancing at Mutharika’s village in Thyolo, the President said he was “very, very glad” to marry again.

Mutharika, 74, has been single for the past 30 years following the death of his first wife Christophine, a Caribbean. He has three children Monique, Moyenda and Mahopela Peter.

Newly married: Prof Peter and Gertrude Mutharika
Newly married: Prof Peter and Gertrude Mutharika

The First Lady, 54, also widowed has one son from her first marriage.

In his address to the wedding reception guests, Mutharika recognised his newly wedded wife as: “You’re Excellency Madam Gertrude Hendrina Maseko Mutharika, First Lady of the Republic of Malawi.”

He introduced his two daughters Monique and Moyenda who graced the wedding, saying they flew in Friday night from United States where they are all practising law. He said his son could not make it.

The President also introduced his new step son a student at the Polytechnic College.

“I have been widowed for about 25 years. My wife died at the age 44 of breast cancer.

I raised my children myself,” said Mutharika.

“So all the mystery is gone. I am a family man. I have children and grandchildren,” he added.

The President said he was excited to get married and be a husband again.

“I never thought I will get married again to be honest.  Some ladies have tried [to entice me] but they didn’t succeed until I met honourable Maseko in parliament,” said Mutharika.

He said after a four year relationship,  it is the “right time” to start a marriage life with Gertrude.

Mutharika described the new wife as “a great lady, Christian lady, very religious lady” saying she will be good “for my own salvation.”

The First Lady is a nurse by profession and is a prominent member of the governing Democratic Progressive Party.

Mutharika also recognised dignitaries who attended the highly publicised wedding ceremony who  include,  former president Bakili Muluzi, Vice President Saulosi Chilima,  Chief Justice Anastasia Msosa, Malawi Congress Party president Lazarus Chakwera, former first lady Callista Mutharika – wife to late Bingu wa Mutharika, Dean of the Diplomatic Corp , Madame Thandiwe Dumbushena and Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya.

Other dignitaries who attended the reception included former Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo, Atupele Muluzi president of UDF, Friday Jumbe of the New Labour Party  and Petra President Kamuzu Chibambo among others.

In giving the toast, Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe, Mutharika’s long- time friend, wished the President and the First Lady a happy married life.

“Behind a successful president is always a good woman,” he said.

“I wish you the best of health. Tiamwele! Cheers!” Gondwe said in his toast.

State House chief of staff, Peter Mukhito, co-chairman of the presidential wedding organizing committee briefly said “the [organising] committee wishes you good life .”

The wedding reception was estimated to cost of K38 million (about US$95 000).

Mukhito said he first couple and some of their “well-wishers” funded the wedding, after Mutharika ordered government officials to ensure that no state funds are used to organize the nuptial ceremony.

The marriage of Mutharika and Maseko is the country’s third State wedding after that of Bakili Muluzi in 1999 to Shanil Dzimbili and late president Bingu wa Mutharika to Callista Mutharika.

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