Hundreds of people from all walks of life yesterday attended the burial of the late former Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) Secretary General Ignatius Mwebe who was put to rest at Chilubula Cemetery in Kasama.
And Government has described Father Mwebe as a courageous and selfless leader who would be greatly missed by the nation.
Speaking during a requiem mass for Fr Mwebe at Chilubula Parish, Defence Minister Geoffrey Mwamba, who represented the government and President Michael Sata at the burial, said Fr Mwebe led an exemplary life and should be mourned in dignity.
Mr Mwamba said Mr Sata was mourning with the Catholics and the nation on the death of Fr Mwebe.
"The President is deeply saddened by the death of Fr Mwebe. That is why he (the President) asked me and my fellow ministers to come and mourn with you all," he said.
Mr Mwamba asked Zambians not to politicise Government's decision to grant Fr Mwebe a State funeral.
"We are here to mourn our beloved priest and not to politicise his death," he said.
He urged Zambians to love and respect one another in times of difficulties instead of talking ill of the dead.
He said the death of Fr Mwebe, who was 62, had robbed the nation of a dedicated and selfless leader who wanted to see a better Zambia.
Mr Mwamba called on Christians to pray for Fr Mwebe's family, especially his sick mother so that she could recover quickly.
He urged members of the Catholic Church to remain strong and united in spite of Fr Mwebe's tragic death.
Archbishop of Kasama Ignatius Chama urged Zambians to remember Fr Mwebe by participating fully in the enactment of the new Republican Constitution.
Archbishop Chama said Fr Mwebe was passionate about a better Zambia, hence his involvement in governance issues of the country.
He urged Christians to emulate Fr Mwebe's selfless service to humanity during his lifetime.
Other Government leaders who attended the burial procession included Energy Minister Christopher Yaluma, Justice Deputy Minister Alfridah Kansembe and Northern Province Minister Freedom Sikazwe.
Northern Province Permanent Secretary Emmanuel Mwamba led heads of Government departments in paying their last respects to Fr Mwebe.
Catholic priests from across the country, including Lusaka Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu and Zambia Episcopal Conference president George Lungu also attended the burial.
Fr Mwebe died last Thursday in a road traffic accident at Musa Village, about 15 kilometres from Kasama, when the Toyota Hilux he was driving collided with a Fuso Canter truck on the Kasama-Mpika Road around 18:30 hours.
He was returning from Lusaka for official duties when the car crash happened.