|FILE: Zambia's late Second
Republican President Frederick Jacob Titus (FJT)
Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga has urged Africans
to draw lessons from late Zambian President Frederick Chiluba's pioneering role
in introducing opposition politics, learn from his mistakes and be stronger in
their resolve to move the continent forward.
In his message of
condolences to Chiluba's family and Zambians on the passing of Chiluba, who
ruled the country between 1991 and 2001, Prime Minister Odinga said Chiluba's
corruption allegations after leaving office were perils of leadership without
adequate constitutional checks, balances and guarantees.
is unfortunate that he eventually slipped into Kaunda's own methods of
suppressing opposition and was dogged by corruption allegations into his retirement. Such are the
perils of leadership without adequate constitutional checks, balances and
guarantees," Odinga said.
"On behalf of the people of Kenya, and the rest
of our continent still struggling with issues of democracy, good governance,
accountability and reforms, I mourn President Chiluba.
I wish that we
could draw lessons from his pioneering role in introduction of opposition
politics, learn from his mistakes and be stronger in our resolve to move our
countries and our continent forward."
Prime Minister Odinga said as a
ruler, Chiluba might have strayed from his promises but his initial expansion of
civil and political rights made Zambia become seen as a model of democracy on a
"It gave us reason to push harder in Kenya, and an
example to point to, of what the changes we were looking for would mean for our
people here in Kenya," said Odinga, who was forced into a coalition government
with President Mwai Kibaki after bloody riots that left hundreds dead following
the 2008 presidential election to which he and the incumbent President claimed
He said he learnt of Chiluba's death with sadness and conveyed
deep condolences to his family, friends and Zambians.
"For those of us
then involved in the struggle for the re-introduction of multi-party politics in
Kenya, Mr Chiluba's victory in Zambia in November 1991 served as a significant
morale booster," Prime Minister Odinga said.
"Chiluba's election was the
clearest signal to us that we were not fighting a lone or losing battle in
Kenya, that Africa was in the mood for another sweeping political change and
that it was possible for independence parties that had run our countries to ruin
since independence, to be defeated."
South African President Jacob Zuma
also paid tribute to Chiluba:
"On behalf of the government and people of
South Africa, we would like to take this opportunity to extend our heartfelt
condolences and sincere sympathies to the government and people of the Republic
of Zambia as they try to come to terms with the loss of their own," President
Zuma said in a statement.
Chiluba, 68, died in the early hours of
His spokesperson Emmanuel Mwamba said Chiluba suffered an
unknown attack, leading to his death at home.
Chiluba has been suffering
from a heart problem since 2006. Meanwhile President Rupiah Banda yesterday
declared an eight-day national mourning period for Chiluba who will be buried on
June 27 in Lusaka.
According to an announcement issued by Secretary to
the Cabinet Dr Joshua Kanganja, President Banda declared today June 20 to June
27, as period of national mourning for Chiluba.
"During the period of
national mourning, all flags will fly at half-mast, and all radio and television
stations should play solemn music between 06:00 hours and 18:00 hours. All
activities of entertainment nature should therefore be postponed or cancelled,"
Dr Kanganja stated.
"Further, in the light of this development, I wish to
inform organisers and the general public that the Africa Public Service Day
activities which were scheduled to run from Monday, the 20th of June to
Thursday, the 23rd of June have been postponed."