NANCY SIAME, Lusaka
WIDOW of former President Frederick Chiluba, Regina, has died at Lusakaâ€™s University Teaching Hospital (UTH) after battling with cancer.
And Radio Phoenix founder Errol Hickey, 72, has died.
UTH acting public relations officer Natalie Mashikolo confirmed the death of Mrs Chiluba, 54.
â€œMrs Chiluba died today [yesterday] at 12:30 hours after being hospitalised for a week,â€ Ms Mashikolo said.
Mrs Chilubaâ€™s son, Mando Mwanza, has described the death of his mother as a big loss to the family.
Mando said in an interview at the house of mourning yesterday that his mother was diagnosed with lymphoma in October last year and was evacuated to India where she underwent chemotherapy.
â€œAfter chemotherapy treatment, she was healed of cancer but the side effects were too much as they brought in other complications,â€ he said.
He said his mother returned home last Wednesday and was immediately taken to UTH where she was hospitalised until her death yesterday.
Mando, who was in the company of his sisters Malama and Bwalya, said the children are proud of their mother for graduating with a distinction in Development Studies at Zambia Open University in September last year.
Mrs Chiluba is survived by five children; Mando, Malama, Bwalya, Makasa, Lombe and five grandchildren.
Funeral gathering is at house number 12B, Middle Way, Kabulonga.
President Lungu has described Mrs Chiluba as a strong and supportive spouse who stood firmly by Dr Chiluba.
The President has extolled Mrs Chilubaâ€™s contribution to the success of MMD particularly in mobilising the women to rally behind the former ruling party.
This is according to a statement issued yesterday by his special assistant for press and public relations Amos Chanda.
The President has extended his heartfelt condolences to the bereaved Chiluba and Chifunda families and urged them to find fortitude in the Almighty God as they mourn.
â€œHer passing away is not only a great loss to her family but also to the entire nation and particularly the womenfolk. On behalf of the Government and the people of the republic of Zambia and indeed on my own behalf, I wish to extend my heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family. My prayers and thoughts are with them during this difficult period,â€ he said.
President Lungu has also regretted the death ofÂ Mr Hickey, a pioneer in the development of Zambiaâ€™s first private radio broadcasting.
President Lungu hailed Mr Hickey for his ingenuity and unwavering commitment to take radio broadcasting to the level that it is today.
He described Mr Hickey as an icon in the media industry who will not only be missed by the media fraternity but the entire country.
And Media Owners Association of Zambia president Oscar Chavula said Mr Hickey will also be remembered for his contribution to the tourism sector when he served as then Zambia National Tourist Board chairperson.
And Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services Kampamba Mulenga said Government learnt with sadness the death of Mrs Chiluba.
Ms Mulenga said in a statement yesterday that Mrs Chiluba, a former MMD womenâ€™s national chairperson, worked tirelessly to mobilise the party at all levels.
â€œGovernment conveys heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family on the passing on of Mrs Chiluba.
â€œWe ask the Lord God Almighty to strengthen the bereaved family during this trying period,â€ she said.
Zambiaâ€™s high commissioner to South Africa Emmanuel Mwamba, who is former spokesperson for Dr Chiluba, said in a Facebook posting that: â€œIâ€™m saddened to learn of the passing of Mrs Regina Chifunda Chiluba, widow to the late second President of the republic of Zambia, Dr Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba. Mama, go well. You have kept the faithâ€.
Mr Mwamba quoted from the book of 2 Timothy 4:7, which reads: â€œI have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.â€
MMD national secretary Raphael Nakacinda said Mrs Chilubaâ€™s death is a blow to the party especially that it comes at a time when the former ruling party is being re-built.
â€œHer wisdom and input would have been useful, especially that she is a widow to our former leader and a senior member in the party,â€ he said.
Mrs Chiluba is survived by five children.
And Mr Hickey has died after losing the fight against cancer for the past two years.
Family representative Kachepa Mutumbi said in an interview yesterday that Mr Hickey died at his house in Makeni in the early hours of yesterday.
â€œMr Hickey died in the presence of his family members,â€ he said.
He said a book of condolence will be opened today from 11:00 hours to 19:00 hours at Intercontinental Hotel where a family member is expected to be present from 17: 00 hours to 19:00 hours.
Mr Mutumbi said funeral arrangements will be announced later.
Mr Hickey is survived by a daughter and a granddaughter.
On the death of Mr Hickey, Ms Mulenga said Government has received his death with grief and sorrow.
Mr Hickey was the pioneer and proprietor of Zambiaâ€™s first commercial private radio station – Radio Phoenix.
â€œHis death has robbed the media fraternity and the nation at large of a selfless, innovative and hard-working journalist who contributed greatly to the development of the industry and the country,â€ Ms Mulenga said.
She said Mr Hickey mentored several journalists who later set up their own radio stations across the country.
Ms Mulenga said Mr Hickey also contributed immensely to informing, educating and entertaining members of the public on various national issues through his many radio programmes such as the popular â€˜Let the People Talkâ€™.
Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia chapter chairperson Hellen Mwale described the death of Mr Hickey as a blow to the media fraternity.
â€œMr Hickey was always supporting media freedom and we shall miss his contribution,â€ she said.
Charge dâ€™Affaires of Zambia to Sweden Anthony Mukwita said Mr Hickeyâ€™s demise leaves a huge hole on the journalism spectrum of Zambia.
Mr Mukwita said Mr Hickey will be remembered for giving a voice to those without a voice.
â€œHe will live on through Radio Phoenix,â€ he said.
NANCY SIAME, Lusaka