It was a day of emotions and unity of purpose for Malawi as dignitaries, politicians and people from all walks of life gathered in Dedza on Saturday to pay their respects to the much-respected wife of retired politician John Tembo where her remains were interred.
Mamarita Ruth Tembo, wife of 45 years of former Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president, died on Monday at Dae Yung Luke Hospital in Lilongwe where she had gone for treatment after a short illness.
Malawians from all walks of life and across the political divide felt the tremendous emotion of the solemn occasion when she was being laid to rest at Nthulu Village in the area of traditional authority Kaphuka in Dedza.
Malawi President Peter Mutharika led the people who paid their last respects to Tembo’s wife who included former president Bakili Muluzi, Vice-President Saulosi Chilima and former vice-president Justin Malewezi and Khumbo Kachali.
There was also Speaker of National Assembly who is also MCP Vice President Richard Msowoya, deputy speaker of parliament Esther Mcheka Chilenje Nkhoma, senior executive members of Peoples Party led by Brown Mpinganjira and the MCP membership.
In his eulogy on behalf of President Mutharika, Chilima said Tembo’s wife she was humble and peace-loving hence the united national mourning.
Chilima said Malawi mourned “ a woman who preached peace and contributed a lot to Malawi Congress Party.”
MCP president Lazarus Chakwera, who is also leader opposition, acknowledged the unity shown by parties during the entire mourning period, saying Ruth Tembo was “a remarkable person.”
MCP president Lazarus Chakwera said a dark cloud has descended on the party following the death of Ruth.
“It will be very difficult for me to forget our mother Mrs Ruth Mamariah Tembo,” said Chakwera.
In his tribute, family representative Professor Zimani Kadzamira, said Ruth Tembo was “an adviser to the family, a wedding planner and comforter.”
Former president Muluzi speaking to Tembo in the vigil house said he felt very sad over the demise of Ruth Tembo, saying: “ We are grieving a loss but also commemorating a life well-led, an extraordinarily life.”
President Mutharika assisted the family with various food items including K300,000 cash while Chakwera and the MCP gave the family K1,595, 970.00.
Malawi’s recent past president Joyce Banda gave the family K100,000, vice president’s wife Mrs Mary Chilima contributed rice and maize flour.
Other cash donations and assistance were received from Muluzi, Malewezi and many mourners.
Born on 21 September, 1941 in Lesotho, Ruth Mamaria Tembo is survived by a husband John Tembo and four children; Dudu, John Tembo Junior, Dalitso and Themba.–(Additional reporting by Zawadi Chilunga, Nyasa Times)Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :