UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema, justice minister Given Lubinda and finance minister Felix Mutati were yesterday engaged in hearty greetings at former Chimbamilonga MMD member of parliament Brian Sikazwe’s funeral service.
Hichilema’s security detail attempted to block Lubinda from shaking hands with the opposition leader, much to the irritation of the minister. As Lubinda walked to where Hichilema was at Sikazwe’s send-off service at UNZA SDA Church in Lusaka, one of the opposition leader’s aides barred the minister.
An irritated Lubinda then asked: “Is he not supposed to be greeted? Why are you…?” But Hichilema, who had stretched his arm for a handshake, kept on saying: “Come, my brother.”
After ‘telling off’ Hichilema’s aide, Lubinda matched forward and the two shook hands. And Mutati, who is also president of an MMD splinter group, had earlier ‘outsmarted’ the distended security detail to embrace with Hichilema.
Hichilema yesterday led a delegation from his party in paying last respects to party member Sikazwe. He extolled Sikazwe as a distinguished and honest Zambian whose lifestyle needed emulation.
“We as a country must learn to work as a family in good and bad times. We have come to celebrate the life of our brother, Honourable Brian Sikazwe and I see Honourable Mutati seated here…It’s very unfortunate that we have met in this situation today, mourning our brother, Honourable Sikazwe. To us, he was a colleague, a member, a friend and a family. So, I want to simply emphasise that the time we spent with Brian, the time we worked with him, we found a distinguished citizen in him and an honest person in him. This breed of honest people in our country is getting smaller and smaller,” said Hichilema.
Sikazwe served as a member of parliament from 2006 to 2011 and was sports and youth deputy minister from 2010 to 2011. In 2016, he contested as Chimbamilonga member of parliament on the UPND ticket. Sikazwe, 52 died on January 28 and is survived by seven children and a wife, Mirriam.
He was interred at Memorial Park in Lusaka yesterday. And Mutati said Sikazwe was a true fighter.
“In Parliament, he was fairly ferocious – speaking the truth and not beating about the bush,” said Mutati.
Second deputy Speaker Mwimba Malama also attended the Church service.