21 November 2017

Malawi First Lady Awarded Chinese Honorary Professorship, Raises Eyebrows - Posturing for Leadership

Presidet Peter Mutharika's mercurial wife, Getrude Mutharika has been awarded an honourary professorship and is said to be positioning herself to succeed her husband, a development that comes at a time when her Zimbabwe counterpart Grace 'Gucci' Mugabe has courted the wrath for similar aspirations.

On Wednesday, the First Lady took an extra step towards her goal when she was awarded an Honorary Professor in Global Health from Peking University of China at a ceremony that took place at Golden Peacock Hotel in Lilongwe.

Within the past two years the First Lady , who before joining politics worked as office assistant at World Vision Malawi, has found herself receiving an honorary PhD before the current title. It is obvious that her team is deliberately scheming and paying for these titles so as to legitimize her ambition to be Malawi President.

She was awarded a honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Management by Polytechnic college , a constituent of the University of Malawi.

Madam Mutharika, a nurse by profession, is portrayed as the loving wife, keeping her 79-year-old husband Aurther Peter seemingly immortal.

She was awarded for her Beautify Malawi Trust project and that the university recognised her "tremendous job" .

The new Professor Gertrude Mutharika's CV already includes improving the environment of the country through BEAM, an initiative set up by the first lady which aims to encourage Malawians to take care of the environment.

However, political commentators say Mrs Mutharika should have chosen another time to expose her ambitions going by what Grace Mugabe has seen in Zimbabwe.

DPP supporters lay blame on Gertrude for bulldozing candidates during the October by-elections in which the party lost miserably to opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP).

In a published opinion column, commentator and former president Bingu wa Mutharika's legal advisor Allan Ntata argues that sonsidering the First lady's inexperience, it is not surprising that her imposing herself into the DPP fabric has resulted in serious divisions among party operatives.

"The First Lady is said to be prone to bouts of anger and nurses a deep resentment toward anyone who dares to suggest that because her husband is too old and too unpopular, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) needs to seriously consider fielding someone else in the 2019 elections," writes Ntata.

The First Lady, who served as an MP for Balaka North and lost the seat to musician Lucius Banda, is the President's second wife. Professor Mutharika was once married to a Caribbean woman during his stay in the United States, a marriage that bore three children. The First Lady also has a son from the previous marriage.

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