Catholic Bishops in Zambia Eulogize Fourth President for “humble, exemplary Service”

Late President Rupiah Bwezani Banda. Credit: Public Domain

Members of the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) have eulogized the country’s fourth President, Rupiah Bwezani Banda, as a humble statesman who realized “humble, exemplary and generous service to the people” in the Southern Africa nation.

Mr. Banda died on March 11 at his home in Lusaka at the age of 85, after a battle with colon cancer, Reuters reported.

“On behalf of the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) and the entire Catholic Community in Zambia, I write to convey our most sincere and heartfelt condolences to you, his family and the entire nation, on the demise of the fourth Republican President of Zambia, Mr. Rupiah Bwezani Banda, who died on Friday, 11 March 2022 at his residence in Makeni,” ZCCB President, Archbishop Ignatius Chama says in a condolence message circulated Wednesday, March 16.

In the message addressed to President Hakainde Hichilema, Archbishop Chama adds, “God allowed the late former President to do his share of humble, exemplary and generous service to the people of Zambia especially his last task of helping in the peaceful transition of power from your predecessor, after the general elections held on 12 August 2021.”

“May his soul be freed from the burden and slavery of sin to rest in the peace of the risen Lord,” the Local Ordinary of Zambia’s Kasama Archdiocese implores in the message dated Monday, March 14.


ZCCB President adds, “We remain united in mourning the death of one of the fathers of the nation with faith and hope in life after death that has been revealed to us through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Born in 1937, the late President Banda was serving as Vice President when, in June 2008, President Levy Mwanawasa suffered a stroke and later died. He then took office, becoming the country's fourth President, and won the subsequent election.

He stepped down in 2011 after losing that year's poll to Michael Sata. The late Zambian leader was widely praised at the time for accepting defeat, rather than challenging the result.

Mr. Banda’s tenure was marred by corruption allegations and in 2013, Zambia's parliament stripped him of immunity from prosecution, clearing the way for investigators to arrest him for corruption-related offenses.

Mr. Banda denied the accusations, describing them as being part of a witch hunt, and was never convicted. 

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In a March 11 special televised address, President Hichilema paid tribute to his predecessor saying, “It is with deep sadness that we learned of the demise of Zambia’s 4th Republican President, H.E Rupiah Bwezani Banda. As we pray for the bereaved family, we know that the Lord will wrap them in His arms and comfort them.”

He added, “We recognize with fondness his long and illustrious career in public service and we appreciate his service to the nation.”

The President also declared seven days of national mourning in honor of the former statesman.

Mr. Banda's state funeral was held Thursday, March 17. He is expected to be laid to rest Friday, March 18 at the presidential burial site at Embassy Park.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.