13 December 2002

Zambia: Chiluba, Regina Marry Quietly

Lusaka — Former president Frederick Chiluba and former MMD women affairs chairperson Regina Mwanza have married quietly.

Confirming his marriage to Regina in an interview last evening, Chiluba said they decided to marry quietly. "She is Regina Chiluba," said Chiluba when asked to confirm the marriage.

And when asked about when the couple tied the knot he replied: "Don't people marry quietly." He said he would give out information on the marriage at an appropriate time. In a letter of condolences to President Levy Mwanawasa on the demise of late home affairs minister Lackson Mapushi, Chiluba and his wife Regina expressed their sorrow on the sudden death.

"My wife and I convey to you, the government and members of the bereaved family our sincere condolences on the sudden and tragic death of Hon. Lackson Mapushi, Minister of Home Affairs, and also a close family relative who died in a road accident in Chibombo on Saturday afternoon," the letter stated. Chiluba described Mapushi's sudden death as President Mwanawasa's most trying moment.

Chiluba in his message of condolences noted that only God could provide healing and genuine peace. Special Assistant to the President for press and public relations Arthur Yoyo said among the latest messages of condolences received by State House was one from the office of the first Republican president Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda. Zambia Republican Party (ZRP) chairman Ben Kapita said his party learnt of the tragic death with profound sense of shock and deep sadness.

Kapita said Mapushi's death was not only a loss to the family, the MMD and government but the nation as he was a promising young leader who wanted to see Zambia free from filthy leadership. "The loss is much more painful as in him we saw a man who was determined to fight corruption and put all those who plundered Zambia's wealth behind bars," said Kapita.

Other messages were from Mozambique's interior minister Almerino Da Cruz Marcos Manhanje and Zimbabwe home affairs minister KCD Mohadi. Meanwhile, Independence Day pardoned convict Palazenge Mtonga said the ex-prisoners in Kabwe and inmates at Mukobeko Maximum Prison, including Chimbokaila in Lusaka, had gone on fasting following the death of late Mapushi.

Mtonga said the 40 ex-prisoners now undergoing training and rehabilitation at Good Samaritan Centre in Kabwe and the 1,958 inmates at Mukobeko were at pain to come to terms with the loss of the minister who had brought hope to the condemned people. "Prisoners are in grief because Mapushi was a Samaritan who helped us reform," he said.

Mtonga,40, was sentenced to death for robbery and murder in 1998 but was pardoned this year by President Mwanawasa on October 19 on account of being a tuberculosis patient. He also pleaded with President Mwanawasa to come to the aid of coup convict Captain Jack Chiti currently admitted to Kabwe General Hospital. Mtonga said Capt. Chiti had lost his hearing while his legs were paralysed.

"He suffers from cancer and he has no money for medicine. Government should intervene," said Mtonga.

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