Written by RAPHAEL TENTHANI
"It saddens us deeply to be denied access to our homestead (the place our parents are resting eternally) and threatened with police action," reads a statement published Friday signed by Mutharika's only son, Madalitso Harrison, and her two sisters, Tapiwa Ellen and Duwa.
The trio's statement comes in the wake of an incident last week where former First Lady Callista Mutharika called the police to stop the children from holding what she dubbed as a "wild party" at the late president's Casablanca (White House) Manor at his private Ndata Farm in the southern tea-growing district of Thyolo.
Mutharika, who died on April 5 from cardiac arrest aged 78, married Callista, now 52, in 2010. The two do not have children together although Callista has two sons from an earlier marriage and Mutharika has four grown up children. Mutharika's children claim the former president built the Casablanca Manor for his late first wife, Ethel Zvauya Mutharika, who died from cancer in 2006.
"This is where her remains are buried...(and) in order to not cause confusion between properties created by him and his first wife Ethel and children and his second wife Callista Chapola Mutharika, he purchased a home for the latter in her name in (eastern city of) Zomba," says the statement. The children also clarify the "wild party" allegations, saying they went to the farm to commemorate the fifth anniversary of their mother's passing.
"The nation may remember the fifth anniversary of our mother's passing fell during the traditional 40-day mourning period of our father," reads the statement. "Therefore, to remember our late mother, we (her children and grand-children, the youngest being two years old) traveled to the estate to privately commemorate her passing, her life and visit her grave."
The statement adds: "Reports of a wild party are false and defamatory." The children deny attacking their step-mother but accuse the former First Lady, with the help of her staff, of physically confronting Madalitso when he visited the Casablanca Manor.
"This case has been filed with the proper authorities," the statement reads. The children also accuse Callista of hypocrisy, saying while she barred them from commemorating their mother's passing at the manor at the pretext that she was still mourning her husband she has been hosting "numerous politically affiliated functions" at the estate "without the family consultation during her mourning period".
Since Mutharika death reports of bad blood between his family and his widow have been rife. The family reportedly wants Callista off the estate since Mutharika built his wealth with his fist wife, Ethel, and that she only stayed with the former president for hardly two years.
(c) The Maravi Post 2012. Reproduction without acknowledgement prohibited