State funeral for Rupiah Banda slated for this Thursday

By Oleen Ndori

Former Zambian President Rupiah Banda who died on Friday, will be buried on the 18th of this month, with Zambia having declared seven days of mourning.

President Hakainde Hichilema declared seven days of mourning following the death of former President Banda, who succumbed to cancer on Friday.

Born in the then Southern Rhodesia, Banda entered the political fray at a tender age and participated in Zambia’s struggle for independence.

After Zambia’s independence from Britain in 1964, he served on several diplomatic posts, including Egypt and the United States of America.

After the 2006 general election, he was appointed Zambia’s vice-president by the late President Levy Mwanawasa.

He ascended to Mwanawasa’s presidential responsibilities after the then incumbent suffered a stroke in June 2008 while on assignment in Egypt.

After Mwanawasa’s death in August 2008, Banda became acting president until he lost elections to the late Michael Sata in September 2011.

A state funeral for Rupiah Banda will be held on Thursday, with burial set for the Presidential Burial Site, Embassy Park in Lusaka on Friday.