FATHER Charles Chilinda of Lusaka’s St. Ignatius Catholic Church says the shooting to death of Vivian Banda is an inexplicable and devastating tragedy because she and her husband, retired Zambia Air Force (ZAF) Colonel Pandala Banda, were devout and dependable Catholics at the parish.
Col Banda allegedly shot dead Mrs Banda at their home in Lusaka on Tuesday in perplexing circumstances that followed her birthday celebration.
In an interview yesterday, Father Chilinda, who is the superior for the Jesuit Community at St. Ignatius Catholic Church, said he personally knew the couple, which was a model for many young couples.
Fr Chilinda said Col. Banda is a Eucharist minister at St. Ignatius Catholic Church, a revered position requiring integrity and exemplary living.
Col Banda runs a law firm.
“The Bandas were a couple one would not overlook. As an observer, they were a happy couple, ever together in church and very generous, and so when I got a call in the night that Vivian had been shot, I was shocked. I thought I was dreaming.
“This incident is unexplainable and we are devastated and still in disbelief. Even good people make mistakes. This abominable act does not define Col. Banda as a criminal but it has changed the course of his life forever,” Fr Chilinda said.
He said Col Banda’s life has never been scandalous but the tragic event has bruised the family.
“We hope the church will bring reconciliation and healing in this family. We hope this tragic event never happened. I don’t want to judge him but the law will take its course,” Fr Chilinda said.
Meanwhile, a member of the family has said the Bandas were due to celebrate their 36 years in marriage next month and the incident has left them in utter shock.
“Pandala Banda junior is still in a state of shock. He is not himself. He is disillusioned and so are other members of the family. It is my prayer that God heals us quickly,” the family member said at the house of mourning in Chamba Valley.
Meanwhile, the Zambia National Women’s Lobby (ZNWL) says Col Banda must face the law.
ZNWL chairperson Beauty Katebe said if the two had irreconcilable differences, there was the choice of divorce.
“It does not matter when one should divorce, even at 30, 70 or 80 years one can divorce. All he needed to do was to divorce,” she said.
Mrs Katebe wondered what came over Col. Banda to allegedly take such an action.
“The old man has now left a divided family and devastated children without a comforter,” Mrs Katebe said.
Zambia National Men’s Network chairperson Nelson Banda said killing was not the solution for any problem.
“It is good that police arrested him, he must be brought to book,” he said.
University Teaching Hospital assistant public relations officer Natalie Mashikolo said Col Banda’s condition is stable.
“From the look of things he has come to his senses and he knows that he killed his wife. He is also trying to remove the handcuffs,” she said.
And a check by Zambia Daily Mail in ward G21 found Col Banda handcuffed to his bed and unable to open his eyes because his face is swollen after being beaten by his son and family members who were incensed by the killing.