GOVERNMENT is making arrangements to fly the body of the late Deputy Minister of Health Patrick Chikusu from South Africa, where he died on Monday.
Chief government spokesperson Mwansa Kapeya said yesterday that preparations for the funeral are still being worked on.
“Government is still making funeral arrangements and once everything is finalised, the entire nation will be informed,” Mr Kapeya said.
Dr Chikusu, who was also Katuba MMD member of Parliament (MP), died at Johannesburg’s Milpark Hospital after suffering a heart attack.
He was earlier admitted to Lusaka’s Coptic Hospital for heart complaints and was later evacuated to South Africa for specialised treatment.
And MPs yesterday eulogised Dr Chikusu.
Moving the notice of motion, Vice-President Guy Scott told Parliament that there was need for them to put on record its deepest regret at the sudden death of Dr Chikusu and appreciate him for his distinguished service to the country.
Dr Scott told the House that the death of Dr Chikusu, who was born on January 12, 1951, was a great loss to the nation.
“Our deepest sympathies and condolences of the National Assembly are conveyed to the family,” he said.
And Nalikwanda MP (MMD) Geoffrey Lungwangwa said Dr Chikusu’s death is a blow to the nation.
“We are heartbroken and short of the right words to use to express our grief,” Professor Lungwangwa said.
He said Dr Chikusu was his colleague at the University of Zambia and that he was devastated when he learnt of his death.
“Dr Chikusu was an internationally accomplished man in the area of research in pharmacy, around 2004 to 2005. He was key in confronting the debate surrounding herbal medicine in relation to HIV and AIDS,” Professor Lungwangwa said.
Mazabuka Central MP (UPND) Gary Nkombo said Dr Chikusu was a warm and sober man who remained calm even under pressure.
Mr Nkombo said Dr Chikusu executed his duties diligently and cautioned the House to ensure that the process of replacing him is done in harmony.
“I want to make a commitment on behalf of my party, that we are going to mourn in the right manner,” Mr Nkombo said.
And Monze Central MP (UPND) Jack Mwiimbu, who described Dr Chikusu as a unique man in his own standing, reflected on some of the challenges MPs go through.
“It is unfair for the Speaker not to attend the funeral for one of the members because the law is against such a move. We should look at amending such law that, to me, is inhuman,” Mr Mwiimbu said.
He also said Parliament should adopt a system where a deceased MP is brought to Parliament, where the members can pay their last respects.