President mourns Dr Kaunda

Staff Reporter

President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday sent a message of condolences to the Government of Zambia and the Kaunda family following the passing on of Elder Statesman and renowned Pan-Africanist, former Zambian President Dr Kenneth Kaunda.

President Mnangagwa said he learnt the passing on of Zambia’s founding father His Excellency Dr Kaunda with a sense of shock and deep sorrow, acknowledging the role he played in the liberation of southern African countries.

“The passing on of this renowned Pan-Africanist and elder statesman, has robbed the Kaunda family and the people of Zambia and indeed the rest of Africa, of an exemplary father, an astute politician and leader, whose immense contribution to the liberation of Southern African countries from colonial rule is well documented and acknowledged by  the international community.

“On behalf of the Government and people of Zimbabwe, and indeed on my own behalf, I wish to convey our most sincere condolences to you, and through you to the Kaunda family, the Government and people of Zambia, on this sad loss,” said President Mnangagwa.

Dr Kaunda died peacefully yesterday afternoon at Maina Soko Medical Centre in Lusaka at the age of 97.

Government of Zambia has since declared 21 days of national mourning in honour of the late Dr Kaunda.

Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa has also sent a message of condolence to the Ribeiro family and the people of Zimbabwe following the passing on of Roman Catholic’s Father Emmanuel Ribeiro yesterday.

President Mnangagwa described Father Ribeiro’s service to the Catholic Church and nation as long and eventful.

“Father Emmanuel Ribeiro’s service to the Catholic church and to our country was long and eventful. From serving in many remote rural parishes, the late Father Ribeiro dedicated the later part of his ministry in colonial days to catering to the spiritual needs of many freedom fighters, serving long prison terms and to those summarily condemned to death for resisting settler colonialism,” said the President.

The President said Father Ribeiro also worked with singular dedication on reconstructing the lives and last moments of the famous Chinhoyi 7, including tracing their families across length and breadth of the country.

“We owe him greatly for such key interventions which have gone quite some way in the reconstruction of narratives of our national struggle,” said the President.

“On behalf of the party Zanu-PF, Government, that of my family and on my behalf. I wish to express my deepest heartfelt condolences to the Ribeiro family. Above all, I tender my sincere condolences to the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Harare, His Grace Archbishop Robert Ndlovu and the entire membership of the Catholic Church in Zimbabwe. We keenly feel and share your pain and grief, praying that the good Lord rests Father Emmanuel Ribeiro’s soul internally,” said President Mnangagwa.