MAMA Kankasa epitomised the struggles of the poor, the women and the disenfranchised, says Dr Fred M’membe.
Dr M’membe this afternoon said the Socialist Party was overcome with a deep sense of sadness on the sudden passing on of the independence struggle and nation-building stalwart Mama Kankasa.
“This morning, the 29th of October 2018, the Socialist Party received with sadness the news of the passing away of Mama Chibesa Kankasa, a great revolutionary and patriot of our people. Our deepest condolences to the family, relatives, comrades and friends,” Dr M’membe, the 2021 presidential candidate said on behalf of the Politburo of the Socialist Party.
“The Socialist Party is overcome with a deep sense of sadness on the sudden passing on of the independence struggle and nation-building stalwart Mama Kankasa. Mama Kankasa epitomised the struggles of the poor, the women and the disenfranchised. While the family has lost a mother, a grand-mother and a great grand-mother, the country has lost an irreplaceable leader, a role model and a constant reminder of dedication and selflessness.”
He said Mama Kankasa embodied grace and humility.
“In her leadership role she gave guidance to young activists and leaders of progressive organisations and many women’s organisations throughout the country. She did not only give political guidance but she was also a mother figure to all. It was a combination of these two qualities, political and parental roles that made her most admired and loved,” Dr M’membe said. “To us she has left huge footprints that tracks our history of suffering, and resilience under immeasurable harassment and dehumanisation under British colonialism. As Zambians we owe it to this pedigree of revolutionaries who defined the course and tempo of our struggle to free ourselves from colonialism and neocolonialism. Indeed, we can without equivocation say that as Zambians, we today enjoy the independence because of her selfless contribution. We would like to convey our condolences to her family, comrades and friends. May her Soul rest in peace.”
Chief government spokesperson Dora Siliya said it was with great sadness that government “announces the passing on of a freedom fighter and formidable politician, Mama Chibesa Kankasa, who died in South Africa this morning.”
“Mrs Kankasa will be remembered among pioneers of women politicians. She was 82 years old,” said Siliya.
Mama Kankasa was evacuated to South Africa for specialised medical treatment.
Health minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya said he had activated the service provider to assist with the safe storage, registration of death as well as repatriation of body back to Lusaka.
PF secretary general Davies Mwila said Mama Kankasa fought a good fight, ran a faithful race, and “now a prize from her creator awaits her.”
He said the PF had received news of the death of Mama Kankasa with extreme shock and profound sadness, particularly that her demise comes just a few days after the nation was celebrating its 54th Independence day – a day whose origins and cause she significantly contributed to.
“She was one of the significant firebrands of Zambia’s independence struggle. As a trail blazer for women in leadership and decision making positions and a key feature of our nation’s development in its earlier years, her indelible legacy will forever be etched in the annals of our nation,” said Mwila. “Mama Kankasa was a matriarch and her wise counsel and encouraging demeanour shall be missed. She fought a good fight, ran a faithful race and now a prize from her creator awaits her. On behalf of the Patriotic Front, I wish to extend our heartfelt condolences to her surviving family. Farewell Ba Mama Mutushe mu chibote. May Her Soul Rest in Peace.”
Mama Kankasa, in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda’s UNIP government, served as chairperson of the women’s league and as member of the Central Committee, which at the time was the highest policy making body within the government.
MMD leader Nevers Mumba said Mama Kankasa was a patriot whose dedication to duty remains exemplary to the nation.
In a message of condolences, Mumba stated that his party’s national executive committee received the news of the passing away of the freedom struggle heroine and peace champion with a deep sense of sadness.
He noted that Mama Kankasa rose through the ranks of the party and government through hard work and devotion to the country and to tasks.
“When her party the United National Independence Party lost power in 1991, she remained committed to the higher values of national building and patriotism. Zambia, has been robbed of a vibrant politician who spent her last years out of politics speaking peace and encouraging the promotion of the, One Zambia One Nation, motto of national unification,” stated Mumba according to a statement issued by spokesperson Cosmas Mukuka.
“It’s a great loss to the family and the nation at large. Our prayers are with the family and the nation at large.”