Several African heads of state and government paid tribute to the late Fourth Republic President Rupiah Banda at a state funeral in Lusaka today.
Heads of State and Government have described the late Mr. Banda as a selfless man who fought to promote peace and unity not only in Zambia but throughout the African region.
Former President of Botswana, Ian Khama described the late Mr. Banda as a warm, kind, gentle and united person who gave wise advice to those in need of it at the right time.
Lt Gen Khama said, “His personality was amazing and he was too good to be a politician. Some politicians are good and some are bad. Rupiah Banda was a good person for Zambia.”
The former President of Malawi, Bakili Muluzi, said that the late President Banda was an outstanding and courteous President to many, both locally and internationally.
Dr. Muluzzi said the late president set an example for African leaders after peacefully handing over power after being defeated by Michael Sata of the Patriotic Front in 2011.
“He was an asset not only to Zambia but to the rest of Africa,” he said.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said that the late Mr. Banda worked tirelessly in the liberation struggle of many African countries, including South Africa.
President Ramaphosa said this in a speech read on his behalf by South African Ambassador to Zambia, Barbara Masekela.
And Mahmat Faki Moussa, chairman of the African Union Commission, said the late President Banda will be remembered for his contributions to the election observer missions he led and served diligently across the African continent.
He said this in a speech read on his behalf by Albert Muchanga, the Trade Commissioner of the African Union.
Mr Moussa said that the late President Banda will be remembered as a patriot and national leader who contributed to peace and unity across the region.
And speaking on behalf of the President of Botswana, Eric Molle, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development in that country, said the late President Banda was a heroic figure who fought for the liberation of many countries from apartheid rule.
President Massi said the late Mr. Banda advocated and worked for the integration of the Common Market for East and South Africa (COMESA) Group.
Speaking at the same event, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta described Mr Banda, the fourth Republican President, as an extraordinary servant who devoted his life to serving Zambia and the African continent.
He said this in a message delivered by James Venana, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development.
“It was with great sadness that I came to know about the passing away of President Rupiah Banda. His death has stripped us of a heroic leader and patriot who has retained the highest level of professionalism,” he said.
President Kenyatta said the late president advocated for peace, reconciliation and democracy.
He said Mr Banda had extensive experience as a diplomat and supported various peace initiatives in Africa.
The Kenyan President noted that Zambia and Kenya continue to share strong bilateral ties.
Late Shri Banda passed away on 11th March 2022 and will be buried tomorrow on 18th March 2022 at Memorial Embassy Park in Lusaka.
Meanwhile, – Namibian President Hage Geingob and his Zimbabwean counterpart, Emmerson Mnangangwa, as well as other foreign dignitaries who attended the funeral of late fourth President Rupiah Banda in Lusaka today, have left Zambia for their various countries .
Zimbabwe’s President, Emmerson Mnangangwa was the first to leave at exactly 15:10 hours and was greeted by Tourism Minister Rodney Sikumba, Zimbabwe Embassy staff and Foreign Ministry officials.
President Mnangagwa has since urged visiting politicians to emulate Mr. Banda, the fourth president, and serve the people with love and peace.
He said that the late President Banda was an eminent leader who preached peace, love and unity for the economic liberation of Zambia.
And the President of Namibia, Hage Gingob, was second to leave at exactly 15:25, followed by former Botswana President Ian Khama at exactly 15:50.
Eric Molele, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development in Botswana, has also left.
The former President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete and his wife Salma Kikwete, left Kenneth Kaunda International Airport at exactly 17:00 and were seen by Tanzanian embassy staff and foreign affairs officials.
Former Mozambican President Joachim Chisano will leave tomorrow while former Malawi President Bakili Muluzi will return on Saturday.