HUNDREDS of people gathered at Embassy Park in Lusaka yesterday in honour of Frederick Chiluba’s eighth memorial service. President Edgar Lungu briefly sat in the marquee at the second president’s burial site before laying a wreath on the grave and leaving without saying a word – at least to journalists. Fourth Republican president Rupiah Banda then went to lay a wreath, followed by former Republican vice-presidents Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda and Enoch Kavindele.
Dr Kenneth Kaunda arrived later for the event and proceeded to lay a wreath on the grave. Among those who laid wreaths were Chiluba’s family, former first lady Maureen Mwanawasa and current and former Cabinet ministers. And as he was leaving the burial site, Banda told journalists that Chiluba was a great president.
“I’m so happy that I’m not alone who remembers him this way – a wonderful man. Unfortunately, we have to say this after he has left us. But many of us expressed it even when he was alive…” said Banda.
“[He was] a great man, a great president [who] achieved more than many of us will ever achieve. I’m so glad that all our leaders, particularly our leader President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, came here to lay a wreath. We’ve always been praying for this.”
Meanwhile, Dr Kaunda remarked: “his contribution continues to stand out and it can’t be forgotten at all.”
Chiluba, who served as president from 1991 to 2001, died in Lusaka on June 18, 2011.