Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Elijah Mudenda dies

Elijah Mudenda dies
Written by Masuzyo Chakwe
Tuesday, November 04, 2008 4:28:40 PM

VETERAN politician Grey Zulu yesterday said he has lost a friend and brother in the late freedom fighter Elijah Mudenda. Speaking after he visited the funeral house in New Kasama, Zulu said Mudenda, who died on Sunday, was a great man, true parent and brother of all Zambians. "He loved them [Zambians] and he served his country honestly and loyally. He was a great man, an honest man, once he tells you something that he will help, you can count on him," he said.

Zulu said Mudenda, 81, was one of the great pillars who helped to liberate and build the nation. "It is a pity that we all die in the end, if it were possible to save someone for some time, Mudenda was the right person to live a longer time so that he could serve the people longer. But we have no control over that, the Almighty God knows what is best for each and every one of us. I personally can say that I have lost a friend and a brother with whom we shared all problems," he said.

Zulu said he and Mudenda on several occasions toured the country together.

"He was a minister of agriculture and as a minister of defence, we worked together as a prime minister, he was a great person, a loving person," said Zulu.

And family spokesperson Daniel Munkombwe said Mudenda died in the late afternoon of Sunday.

Munkombwe, who is also Southern Province minister, explained that Mudenda had been in hospital for close to three weeks at Mina Care Clinic in Roma.

He said burial was likely to take place on Thursday at his farm in Lusaka. Munkombwe described the late Mudenda as a great man having been everything in life and the first black agriculture minister. Munkombwe said Mudenda was a role model both in public and private life. And the Cuban Embassy described the late Mudenda as a man who committed himself to the cause of the people.

"The Embassy of the Republic of Cuba in Zambia on behalf of its staff and the Cuban people, wants to express its deepest sorrow and heartfelt condolences for the death of the comrade Elijah Haatukali Kaiba Mudenda," Cuban Charge d' Affairs Turcios Miguel Esquivel Lopez said. Lopez said the Cuban Embassy had a lot of respect for Mudenda as a freedom fighter and as a person.

"For his struggle on the defence on his ideas, as an example of a human being he committed himself with the cause of his people. He had the pleasure to serve his country holding various portfolios, at the Parliament, in government and in UNIP. Everywhere we went we could appreciate how Zambian people loved him, admired him and respected him," Lopez said, "As Cubans, we always counted on him. He clearly understood our struggle and expressed publicly his support for the Cuban Revolution. This is the reason why we feel so proud of having him as the Patron of the Zambia-Cuba Friendship Association for several years."

Lopez said even when they knew that his health was not well, he attended all the activities in solidarity with Cuba organized by the Association, The Post, and some friends of Cuba, as an example that he was a man of a very strong will. He said he was sure that the Zambian people would remember him as one of its greatest heroes.

"Today, on this painful moment, we extend to his wife and other relatives, and the Zambian people our heartfelt condolences," said Lopez. And mines minister Dr Kalombo Mwansa said this was a sad loss. Dr Mwansa said during the struggle for independence, Mudenda broke the myth that most people in the struggle were not professionals.

"Despite what the civil service could have given him had he chosen to work as a civil servant, he decided to join the freedom struggle. We will miss his humility despite the highest level he reached in politics, the education he had, he still remained humble, accommodating and broad minded person," he said.

Dr Mwansa said Mudenda was an example of what it meant to serve humanity with humility. Mudenda is survived by a wife, four children - Jene, Nana, Chilumbi and Tozana Mvula - and several grandchildren.

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