SOME of the proposals contained in the statement released by Vice-President Inonge Wina do not help to address the current COVID crisis and according the highest honour to our beloved Kenneth Kaunda, says Reuben Samboh.
The MMD vice-president was referring to Vice-President Wina’s statement on Monday in which she announced the funeral arrangements for Dr Kaunda who died last week aged 97.
Reverend Samboh noted that the country had lost 199 people to COVID-19 in the last five days.
He said the University Teaching Hospital is reporting that the mortuary is full and neighbourhoods are inundated with funerals.
Rev Samboh noted that as a consequence, the Ministry of Health had advised that the country doubles its efforts on adherence to public health guidelines.
On Vice-President Wina’s statement that Dr Kaunda’s casket would be taken around all the 10 provinces before burial on July 7, Rev Samboh expressed concern that it would be impossible to avoid crowding and therefore spreading the “problematic virus.”
He proposed that it would be better to rest Dr Kaunda in an open glass casket to allow for the nation to “virtually view his remains for an hour or so”, although it’s not in the Zambian culture.
“We have been mourning respectfully hitherto, and the nation has held together as one. It is unwise to bring in an unnecessary talking point in the process. The statement is putting Dr Kaunda’s family in the direct line of criticism. It should have been presented as resolutions of cabinet or state functions, without reference to the family,” he said.
Rev Samboh wondered what would happen if some of the family members disown the Vice-President’s statement.
He said the statement should have included suggestion about what all Zambians can do in paying respect to the late statesman under the circumstances.
“For instance, that on a given day within these days of mourning, we all down our tools, and give Dr Kaunda a standing ovation which would be followed by claps, salutation and shouts of gratitude for what he did for us. A particular dress code could also be encouraged,” Rev Samboh suggested. “The statement should have included something on the status of campaigns and elections scheduled for August 12. In the absence of this, campaigns will return to full scale and could constitute dishonour for KK.”
Samboh suggested that Vice-President Wina’s statement be reformatted and issued in a more considerate way.