Former president Rupiah Banda has described the late Roman Catholic Cardinal, Medardo Joseph Mazombwe as a great man whose life needs to be remembered by every Zambian.
Banda said the death of Cardinal Mazombwe was a loss to the country because he was a success and a patriot to the nation.
He said “I was President when Cardinal Mazombwe was elevated to Cardinal by retired Pope Benedict and my government made sure that all was arranged to have an entourage of 10 people to support his elevation.
As a government we realised that his ordination was a plus not only to the Catholic community but to the country as a whole. I knew him from Chipata and he had always been a selfless man as seen when he championed the debt cancellation with Jubilee 2000 and his desire to help the poor people through out the country”.
President Banda advised Zambians not to forget the Cardinal but instead emulate his life and that the Catholic community in Zambia must be proud that they produced a Cardinal.
He said Zambians should continue to do what he had set by fighting for his country in a humble manner.
And the Non Governmental Organisations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) has said it learnt with a sense of deep sorrow the death Cardinal Mazombwe.
NGOCC chairperson Beatrice Grillo said the country had again been robbed of a gallant man of God whose service and dedication to mankind remained impeccable.
“The death of Cardinal Mazombwe has indeed deprived the women’s movement in Zambia of a true friend, who stood with us shoulder to shoulder in the struggle to fight poverty, inequity, and above all injustice for all regardless of gender, class, status, or creed.
“We shall forever remain indebted and remember Cardinal Mazombwe for the cardinal role he played to fight for the country’s debt cancellation. As president of the Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC), Cardinal Mazombwe distinctly campaigned for Zambia’s debt cancellation through the Jubilee movement campaign,” Grillo said.
She said his desire for a better Zambia for all saw him initiate several development projects in many parts of Chipata and Lusaka Dioceses including the now famous Mumpanshya area in Chongwe.
The chairperson said “there was no doubt that his selfless service to humanity distinguished him and earned him recognition at various levels including his elevation to the position of Cardinal – Priest of Santa Emerenziana a Tor Fiorenza”.
She said on behalf of the women’s movement in Zambia, the NGOCC extended its deepest sympathies and condolences to Pope Francis, the Catholic Church in Zambia and the Zambian people at large over the demise of the Cardinal.
And MMD leader Dr Nevers Mumba said the death of Mazombwe was a moment of reflection because he was a man that cared for unity because he believed in the democratic process of the country.
Mumba urged Zambians to take a leaf from what the Cardinal had done for Zambia and that his life was a lesson to the young politicians that would want to serve the people of this country.
Cardinal Mazombwe 81 died at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) on Wednesday evening and he will be buried today at the Cathedral of the Child Jesus in Lusaka.