21 April 2012

Zambia: Ex-Vice-President Kunda Interred

PRESIDENT Michael Sata has advised former vice-president George Kunda's family and Zambians in general to ignore "self-proclaimed" pastors who are falsely accusing the Government of having neglected the late Muchinga Member of Parliament (MP).

In an apparent reference to MMD presidential candidate Nevers Mumba, the president said it was regrettable that the clergyman had decided to politicise the illness and subsequent death of the former vice-president.

Dr Mumba was recently quoted as having said the Government should have evacuated Mr Kunda, who was admitted to the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) since March 27 and died on Monday.

President Sata was among thousands of mourners, who gathered yesterday at the Cathedral of the Child Jesus during a requiem service.

He urged Ms Kunda and the family to have faith in God as it was the only way they could draw strength.

He said people should not listen to negative views by the self proclaimed pastors who do not even have churches.

Mr Sata said the bereaved family should remain strong as they go through a trying moment because it was not an easy experience to lose a beloved one.

He said the same pastors who complained about him not having evacuated Mr Kunda for medical attention abroad also condemned him for having honoured the late MP a three-day national mourning.

Mr Sata said the same pastors failed to thank him when he evacuated late Princes Nakatindi Wina to South Africa.

It was not fair, he said, for people to complain that another late vice-president Christon Tembo was not honoured a State funeral because he was not the president at that time.

Before he addressed mourners, Mr Sata led the choir in singing a Bemba song "tutemwane bane bonse" (Let's love one another).

Roman Catholic Cardinal Medardo Mazombwe said Mr Kunda believed in God as such nothing should separate his family from the love of God.

Cardinal Mazombwe said it was God's decision for Mr Kunda to die and that people should remain united.

Those that attended the church service included vice-president Guy Scott, senior Government officials, first Republican president Dr Kenneth Kunda, Chief Justice Ernest Sakala and leaders of political parties.

Others were members of the diplomatic corps, church, traditional leaders, members of civil society organisations, legal practitioners, and people from all walks of life.

Meanwhile, during burial at Memorial Park at the Leopards Hill cemetery, Dr Scott paid glowing tribute to his predecessor whose death he described as a tragic loss to the entire nation.

Dr Scott said he was hopeful that the unity and love that had been exhibited during the period of mourning would forever resonate and typify Zambia's spirit.

"As president of the Law Association of Zambia and as a private lawyer, he was passionate about his work. "He believed in the diversity of humankind and spoke openly about the responsibility and duty of all citizens," Dr Scott said.

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