STEVEN MVULA, Lusaka
FORMER President Rupiah Banda has appealed to Government to publicise late President Frederick Chiluba’s memorial day because of his considerable contribution to Zambia’s democracy.
Dr Chiluba died at age 68 at his home six years ago.
Mr Banda’s sentiments came shortly after laying wreaths at Dr Chiluba’s mausoleum at Embassy Park.
“If the people of this country had known that today we were going to be laying wreaths here, you would have seen millions of people here. Dr Chiluba was always brave to stand up for the weak. He sold us houses cheaply. There is nothing more important than a home. We seem to have forgotten all this,” Mr Banda said.
He said President Chiluba did a lot for the poor people, hence the need to make his memorial day known to everyone every year.
Mr Banda described Dr Chiluba as one of the greatest people Zambia has ever produced.
“It doesn’t matter how hard we try to suppress him. The majority of Zambians will not agree with you that all Dr Chiluba did was bad. I was persecuted because of my recognition of Dr Chiluba. The fact that our courts ruled that he was an innocent man there was pressure on me as President to say that he goes to London and face trial. What a ridiculous and cruel way of treating your own citizen.
“I stood my ground. I paid my price, but I am very proud that I did what I did,” Mr Banda said.
Mr Banda said it is to the detriment of the country to ignore the fact that Dr Chiluba was a great man.
“I would like to ask that our society recognise Dr Chiluba,” he said.
And giving a short homily, before the laying of wreaths, former Member of Parliament for Luanshya Jean Phiri, who is now a clergywoman, described Dr Chiluba as a gallant man.
Quoting from the Bible in 2 Samuel 1:17 -25, Pastor Phiri credited Dr Chiluba for declaring Zambia a Christian nation, and making many people get into positions of influence.
“Dr Chiluba left behind a legacy and we will remember him as a gallant man,” she said.
Several ministers that served under his administration also laid wreaths.