Zambia: 2021 – a historic year for Zambia
2021 has been a historic year for Zambia.
But as so many developments have taken place this year, the country has also lost scores of people, especially to the coronavirus pandemic.
For the first time since independence in 1964, Zambia is evolving without its founding father Kenneth David Kaunda.
Dr Kaunda, who was 97, died at Maina Soko Medical Center in Lusaka on June 17, 2021.
He was laid to rest at the presidential burial site in Lusaka on July 7, 2021 after his remains were transported to all 10 provinces of Zambia.
Dr Kaunda, who ruled the country from 1964 to 1991, was honored in May of that year with a Special Prize from the African Union (AU) in recognition of his role in the liberation of Zambia and of Africa.
He was the sole survivor of the heroes of Africa’s liberation struggle who launched the forerunner of the AU, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), 58 years ago in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia .
Dr Kaunda, who was affectionately known as KK, was credited with working with others like Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe, Harry Mwaanga Mkumbula, Nalumino Mundia and Humphrey Mulemba in the struggle for the liberation of Zambia from colonialism.
He was also credited with putting in place a plan to develop Zambia’s economy through building infrastructure and setting up facilities that supported the newly independent state.
Dr Kaunda has also been recognized for leading the liberation of countries in southern Africa by allowing the liberation movements of Angola, South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe, among others, to use the Zambia as a launching pad for the struggle against the domination of the white minority in the subcontinent. .
Dr Kaunda was also known to be a peacemaker who united the 73 tribes of Zambia and inspired them to live together in harmony.
He was also credited with handing over power peacefully after losing the 1991 election and helping to fight HIV / AIDS as an activist through the Kenneth Kaunda Children of Africa Foundation after leaving State House.
From a simple teacher, Dr Kaunda rose to claim his place among the African political heavyweights who led their countries to free themselves from colonial domination.
Zambia also lost Simon Zukas, who died at the age of 96.
Mr. Zukas first distinguished himself in the political life of Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) in 1951, as one of the founders and leaders of a radical and predominantly African committee that opposed the establishment of the Settler-dominated Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.
In April 1952, the colonial government, believing it to be “a danger to peace and good order”, sought to expel Mr. Zukas to the United Kingdom (UK), a country with which he had no connection. .
Mr. Zukas, son of Chaim and Libe Zukas, was born in Ukmergė, Lithuania.
He arrived in Northern Rhodesia with his family in July 1938.
For more than 20 years after Zambia became an independent state, Mr. Zukas devoted himself to civil engineering and commercial agriculture.
But in 1990, disappointed by the one-party state and Zambia’s economic decline, he helped found the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD).
After the defeat of President Kaunda and UNIP in 1991, Mr. Zukas joined the new government and served as Minister of Agriculture and later in other portfolios.
He resigned in 1996 but returned to politics in 2001 as a member of a group – the Oasis Forum – which successfully opposed Frederick Chiluba’s attempt to secure an unconstitutional third presidential term.
He then became president of the Opposition Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD), a position he held until 2005, when he resigned.
Although not an active politician, Mr. Zukas remained a strong believer in political leanings in Zambia and lent a hand whenever he could.
10 days before his death, Zukas led a delegation of elders to appeal to newly elected President Hakainde Hichilema.
Mr. Zukas, who has always been committed to democracy, welcomed Zambia’s third change of government through the ballot box on August 12, 2021.
He was granted a state funeral, which was also declared a day of national mourning.
Zambia also bade farewell to former Chief Justice Irene Mambilima, who died on June 20, 2021 in an Egyptian hospital.
She was the country’s first female chief justice.
Judge Mambilima died after falling ill while in office.
Justice Mambilima, 69, was appointed Chief Justice on February 26, 2015.
His death was announced in a statement by Simon Miti, then senior private secretary to President Edgar Lungu.
Judge Mambilima visited Egypt for official missions on June 10, 2021.
The late Chief Justice, who holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Zambia (UNZA) and a Masters of Law from the University of London, was called to the bar in 1977.
Judge Mambilima held various positions after joining the Zambian judiciary as High Court Commissioner in 1985.
She was a High Court judge from 1989 to 2002.
In 2003, she served as a sessional judge of the Supreme Court of The Gambia.
Judge Mambilima was twice chairman of the Zambia Election Commission (ECZ), between 2005 and 2015.
Well-respected judge Mambilima presided over the general elections of 2006 and 2011 which saw the Patriotic Front (PF) dislodge the MMD from power.
She also presided over the 2015 by-presidential election which was won by former President Edgar Lungu.
The country has also lost others, including the former permanent secretary of the Western Province Augustine Seyuba and the parish priest of St Ignatius, Father Charles Chilinda.
Father Chilinda, who was also director of Loyola Media, was an apostolate of the Society of Jesus who, over the past decade, has established himself as a strong figure in the clergy.
He was recognized as a peacemaker and national builder who helped unify and bring together political figures in his efforts to end political conflicts in the country.
In fact, 2021 will go down in history as the year in which many people lost their loved ones due to the country’s third wave of COVID-19, which led to a frightening rise in new cases and a subsequent rise. deaths.
The coronavirus has claimed the lives of personalities in business, the political arena, traditional leaders and countless others, leading the government to close schools, churches, public places such as restaurants, nightclubs, bars and casinos and to ban social gatherings.
As Zambia now faces a fourth wave of the pandemic, people are urged to get vaccinated in order to save their lives and the lives of others, as well as not give in to the application of health measures aimed at minimize the risk of spread. disease.