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By Times Reporter,

FORMER Lusaka Archbishop, Medardo Mazombwe has described the late former Finance minister Emmanuel Kasonde who died on Friday as a dedicated Catholic.

 

In his homily, at a funeral service at the Cathedral of the Child Jesus in Lusaka, Archbishop Mazombwe, who jointly celebrated the funeral mass with Lusaka Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu and nine other priests, said the late Mr Kasonde was a patron of the church and spoke for it.

 

Archbishop Mazombwe said the late Mr Kasonde was a man full of ideas, which he shared with others.

 

“He was a Catholic inside out. He was dedicated to church affairs, despite the position he held in society, he remained simple and approachable,” he said.

 

Mr Kasonde died at Lusaka Trust Hospital on Friday after an illness.

In his will, Mr Kasonde indicated that he did not want anyone to say anything about him during the funeral.

 

But Archbishop Mazombwe said he knew Mr Kasonde for 30 years and used to consult him on various issues and as such, found it difficult not to say anything about him.

 

“He was a great source of inspiration for us. His soul is a soul of an upright man,” he said.

 

The funeral mass was attended by Defence Minister George Mpombo who represented President Banda, First Republican president Kenneth Kaunda, deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Mutale Nalumango, former vice-president Enoch Kavindele and Home Affairs Minister Kalombo Mwansa.

 

Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata, United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema, All Peoples Congress Party (APC) president Ken Ngondo, National Democratic Focus (NDF) president Ben Mwila, and former vice-president Nevers Mumba also attended the service.

 

Others were diplomats accredited to Zambia, Cabinet and deputy ministers, senior Government officials and members of the business community.

 

And reading the life history, Mr Kasonde’s long-time friend, Dominic Mulaisho said he knew Mr Kasonde for 48 years and that he was a practical and extremely brilliant visionary.

 

He said the late Mr Kasonde solved problems in a systematic way and always put the interest of the country first.

 

“He was a gifted industrialist and a very humble man. He gave more to this country than he received,” he said.

 

Mr Kasonde was born on December 23, 1935 at Malole Mission in Mungwi and did his primary education at Malole Primary School from 1943 to 1950 and later went to St Francis Secondary School.

 

From 1953 to 1956, he went to Munali in Lusaka. Upon leaving Munali in 1957, he started work as a labour officer.

 

He then left Zambia for further studies in the United Kingdom (UK) in 1958 to study economics. When he returned, he was elevated to the position of assistant labour commissioner in the then Northern Rhodesia.

 

Mr Kasonde later became the labour commissioner before he was appointed ministry of labour permanent secretary. In 1967, Dr Kaunda appointed Mr Kasonde as Finance permanent secretary.

 

In 1971, Mr Kasonde left the public service to join the private sector and in 1987, he went back to the UK for further studies. He joined politics in 1990 and became the MMD provincial chairman for Northern Province.

Mr Mulaisho said when the MMD came into power, Dr Chiluba appointed Mr Kasonde as Finance minister.

 

When the late president Mwanawasa came into office he also appointed Mr Kasonde as Finance minister. Mr Mulaisho said in 2003, Mr Kasonde retired from active politics and served in several positions as a church member.

 

The body of Mr Kasonde was, after the church service, flown to Kasama where it was expected to lie in state before burial, which takes place today at Malole Mission in Mungwi.

 

A wife, Rose, three children and eight grand children survive the late Mr Kasonde. The Government has declared today as a day of national mourning.

 

 

Copyright © 2008 The Times of Zambia. All rights reserved.

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