Sata calls for mourning as Mwila’s body returns

Former defence minister Ben Mwila - The POST

THE body of politician Benjamin Mwila, who died over the weekend, arrived yesterday to a tearful reception at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport.
President Sata has declared three days of national mourning in honour of the former Minister of Defence, who died in South Africa at the age of 70.
A sombre mood gripped the airport as mourners broke down on seeing the casket carrying Mr Mwila’s body.
The plane touched down at about 12:15 hours and the remains were taken to FSG Funeral Palour.
Family spokesperson Ary Mumba said Mr Mwila will be buried on Thursday at the Memorial Park after a church service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.
According to a statement issued in Lusaka on Monday by Secretary to the Cabinet Roland Msiska, national mourning will be observed from 06:00 hours to 18:00 hours from Tuesday to Thursday.
Dr Msiska said body viewing will be at Mr Mwila’s residence in Lusaka’s Chudleigh along Central Street.
Meanwhile, Minister of Youth and Sport Chishimba Kambwili has expressed sadness at the death of Mr Mwila.
Mr Kambwili said the former minister will be greatly remembered because of his positive contribution to Zambian politics.
Among those who received the body of Mr Mwila were former president Rupiah Banda, former vice president Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda, Minister of Justice Wynter Kabimba, MMD president Nevers Mumba, former Minister of Foreign Affairs Kabinga Pande and former Minister of Community Development and Social Security Michael Kaingu.
Others were senior government officials, Patriotic Front and MMD cadres.
Mr Mwila served in various positions in the Frederick Chiluba administration before leaving the MMD to form the Republican Party and contested the 2001 presidential election won by Levy Mwanawasa.
He was elected as Luanshya Constituency member of Parliament in the 1991 general elections, leading to his appointment as minister of Defence.
Mr Mwila also served as minister of Energy and Water Development, among other positions.
He survived by wife Lombe and children.