The wife of the late Estone Mulenga at graveyard of her late husband.picture by Jean Mandela

SPORT and Youth Minister Chishimba Kambwili has dared the families of the 1993 Gabon air crash disaster victims to go ahead and exhume the remains of their beloved ones from the Independence Stadium memorial site in Lusaka.

Government says it will only follow the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) programme to commemorate the memorial of the fallen heroes, who died after the Buffalo plane carrying them for a 1994 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Senegal perished off the coast of Libreville, Gabon.

Kambwili said in an interview in Lusaka following complaints by some family members of the deceased that Government and FAZ had neglected them and thus want to exhume bodies and bury them near where they stay.

The minister said the families were free to do what they wanted if they so wished as Government will not stop them.

He wondered what else the families wanted after Government paid them their benefits adding that Government cannot be commemorating the event every year but the families can be remembering their relations without Government being present.

“We are not stopping them from exhuming the remains of their beloved ones if they want to do so. What else do they want? Their benefits were paid and Government cannot be commemorating the memorial every year, it’s the families to do that.

In fact we were not availed any programme for this year because the ministry was not given any programmes concerning the memorial of the Gabon disaster heroes. So how do you expect Government to make a plan like that,” he said.

Kambwili said Government was following the FAZ programme which says that the commemorations will be taking place after five years as opposed to holding the event yearly.

He also took a swipe at the widow of late goalkeeper Efford Chabala, Joyce, for issuing wrong statements on Radio Ichengelo, where she alleged that all governments were the same adding that the families would treat the Patriotic Front (PF) Government just the same as the MMD.

“She cannot blame the Government for that programme because it’s not us who look into the matters of football in the country but FAZ. There are so many fallen heroes in Zambia including presidents but we don’t hear their families make noise like the Gabon disaster relatives,” he said.

On the Africa Cup of Nations pledge by a Tanzania national, Kambwili said the only beneficiaries of the AFCON victory fruits will be the players and officials who took part in the tournament.

Kambwili has urged the families to be patient and wait and see what type of activities Government in liaison with FAZ will put up in its five year cycle commemoration unlike rushing to exhume bodies.

FAZ through its spokesperson, Erick Mwanza recently announced that the Gabon disaster memorial will be commemorated every five years but low key ceremonies will be held every year to remember the heroes.

Mwanza said the association wants to make the five-year commemorations big with a hive of activities to celebrate the lives and success that the fallen heroes left adding that people should not mistake holding the commemorations every five years as shunning away from the yearly memorial.

But the families who held a meeting after laying wreaths at the burial site resolved to exhume the bodies from the site and bury near their respective places as that would be easier and cheaper since both Government and FAZ seemed not to be interested in the event.

[Times of Zambia]

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67 COMMENTS

    • Fired for what? He has just spoken the truth. Most of these widows have even re-married after squandering what govt. gave them. Some of those relatives left children of the late players stranded after squandering their funds. Who doesn’t know that not all bodies of the perished were recovered? Some coffins may be empty! Mind you, concrete was put on those caskets, do you think it will be easy to exhume those graves? It’s a very unrealistic resolution by those families. We share the pain of that loss but we’ll not support unrealistic demands. I propose that gov.t declares that place a heritage site and restrict access. Let the boys rest in piece, wherever they lie, amen!

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  1. What an insensitive statement coming from this motormouth? And what if the families went ahead and did that who would be embarassed? Dont make promises you can never deliver.Somebody reallign the ministry from this yob.

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    • Are these the only family members that have ever died?Do they commerate memorials for all of the died members,even those that died some 20 years ago?What of our service wo/men that die whilst on duty,do we mourn and keep on paying compasation year in year out endlessly?LET US BE REALISTIC!

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  2. Kambwili is right for once. Benefits have been paid to these families. What else do they want? Why dont they pay the same kind of respects to their other relatives who have died? 

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  3. Let them just exhume. What else do they want. When you are dead, you are dead. nothing speacial.

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  4. I just love Kabmbwili. He says things as they are noti vopitana pitana kumbale. Viva little cobra

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  5. honestly, how can this directed at people who are still grieving, still grieving cos the WHOLE truth has not been told regarding how these people died. besides, that Eric guy only announced the change to “every five years” from the usual annual commemoration just a few days before the event. so how were the families to know that this was not an official commemoration year? deja vu!

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    • Iwe, Survivor, how can you be greaving for almost 20 years?? These families are after one thing! They want favour, especially after the young generation scooped the after Cup of nations!!We had already wept and everything, time to move on! 20 years is alot!

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    • Efford Chabala’s widow has always had issues everytime there’s a memorial. Efford was a Jehova’s Witness. I don’t know about her. Read all previous reports. Why is she like that?

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    • I lost my uncle who died under circumstances we(family) don’t know.He was a commando.Do we still have to continue moaning even after 12 years has passed?Mind you,he was directly employed by govt,not FAZ.

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  6. The Minister Kabwili is RIGHT. This celebration should come to an END and be left to the families on their own. We have all lost loved ones and have moved on. Whats so special about these colleagues of ours.

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  7. Kambwili should not answer back at agrieved and emmotional personz. Now am at a loss az to what some familiez of the Gabon dizastor are really up to.

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    • I think they need to know the true we shall not reward them forever mweee. They were paid and now they want so,ething more, no ways. We have alot of fallen heros in zambia, do they mean they are the only ones who derserve more? I know they have been attended to.

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  8. Why not just order that all matches played under the FAZ league observe a moment of silence whenever its the memorial week? surely we cannot be morning forever and having wrangles between government and relatives of our beloved heroes. Government has honored them in a lot of ways even by allocating them a deserved burial place. I think its time we let our fallen heroes rest in peace, we have in addition honored them by dedicating the 2012 AFOCON victory to them. Please family members its time to stop these word exchange and wrangles its embarrassing.
     

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  9. HI KAMBWILI UR A FRIEND BUT BUT U NEED TO F**** RUDE, THOSE GUYS DIED IN THE ZAMBIAN FLAG OK AND ON DUTY WHAT THE HELL ARE U TAKING ABOUT THAT F*** S***DO U SEE WHAT HAPPENS MANCHESTER UNITED FOOTBALLERS WHO DIED EVEN THE SOCCER FAN AT LIVER POOL THEY ARE GIVEN RESPECT BOY EVERY YEAR HAVE RESPECT FOR THOSE BOYS OR ELSE U WILL FIND UR SELF LOSING UR MINISTRIAL POST

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  10. Indeed what more do they want? We all feel for them but guys its been almost two decades and they were paid benefits, now they want something from the afcon precedes, okay what good will it do them from exhuming the remains of their beloved ones, because them been at independence is already an honour. Please mama chabala…
    The same people if not responded to will say why are they not responding, So bravo to the Minister for making it clear. The afcon win in gabon should not be an excuse. We keep remebering our fallen heros, mtsrip.

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  11. This is a very irresponsible statement from a minister.Those players died because of a stingy government which Sata was part and parcel of.Why did they place the team in a faulty plane/ why have they not released the report?Reason being if they are found guilty Aviation rules demand a very huge compensation package for the families.why should the families have to trek to Lusaka every year for memorial without Govt support.they didn’t ask for their loved ones to be buried in Lusaka.Most of us choose where to bury our loved ones these people didn’t

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    • It’s better to make informed comments. ZAF officers denied assertions that the plane was faulty. This was done when Nevers Mumba released what he called part of the report. Even the question of drunkenness was challenged, not so long ago. This is the fourth administration that has refused to release the report. They have their reasons. FJT didn’t, LPM didn’t, RB didnt, and now MCS. It’s better to let the sleeping dogs lie

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  12. And you say Zambia does not have a caring Govt lol! Is that the best way to handle this situation? The families might not be expressing their frustrations in the best way but to answer them like Kambwili did is just classic, coming from a ‘caring’ PF govt

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  13. we cannot grieve for ever. the families should move on rather than continue to politicize this tragic loss. Children who were born 19 years ago are now men and women lets move on.

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  14. Kambwili needs to be a little sensitive. Yes we have all lost loved ones but these people died on nantional duty. Kambwili is about to lose his job.

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  15. for once the irresponsible one has spoken sense. i grieve each year for the loss of life. i was 19 years old and this was 4 days after my birthday when this happened and one of the saddest days of my life. i cannot celebrate my birthday with reflecting on that fateful day. But i think the government has done all it can in way of reparations and cannot be expected to do so in continuum. The boys have been honored and the family after all these years should pick up the pieces of their shattered lives and move on instead of hanging on for handouts from GRZ. This is an unfortunate reality of life. They can hold a memorial each year if they so please.Its their right. 

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  16. f the compasation was not enough please sue Govt. i recall during settlement this group was represented by a lawyer. what we should know is that no amount of money can compasate lost life and as long as a person lives money is needed everyday. Even those who retire with handsome packages at one point will be broke if no investment is done. you cannot make livelihood out of your beloved departed one, even insurance claim is made only once going beyond this is somehow immoral.  

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  17. Kambwili, these widows are still hurting and will continue to hurt each year until they die themselves. Some of them could have been dead themselves if their husbands with hiv-aids were around to infect them with the virus. But still, they’re hurting and you as a minister should learn to answer them nicely. You should have said that you understand what they are going throuth but there’s no need to exhume the bodiesbecause they died as heroes & they deserve to rest where they are…

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  18. This chimpanzee needs to keep quiet. Seems everytime he opens his mouth, he speaks nonsense. A minister is supposed to exhibit some basic diplomacy. The reason families are annoyed is the refusal by Govt to release the Gabon report (which by the way points the blame at Govt). The families need closure but Govt (current and previous) is afraid of being sued for millions of dollars. Best thing to do is come out with the truth and negotiate realistic compensation.

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  19. Hon. Kambwili is right. The guys died while on duty fine but how long should we mourn them? There are soldiers, police officers and many more that died while on duty but no such memorials. Each family should just remember these guys in their respective homes next time. If the report is released so what? Sue who? Gabon or ZAF? Rubbish. Dig up the bones and bury in the backyard.

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  20. For how long are we going to mourn mwe bantu. Let the souls of these people rest in peace. We know it is painful but move on. Going to the grave each year to weep will not do you any good. Many people have lost their loved ones, bread winners and have moved on. They are able to make ends meet. We can not surely grieve for ever. Report or no report makes no difference on the lost lives. Move on people for your own betterment.

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  21. Kambwili should be a bit civil. Grieving people are not told off the way you tell off anyone else. Say the truth but dont be rude

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  22. Men and women,don’t just be lazy and hide in the name of those football heros.You must work hard,come on start doing something the minister is right alasafya nga pebwe.Elyo na ma memorial service yene aya ala ya busenshi fye.Start holding such at your repective homes,bushe kanofye mwaya pa tomb??? It’s high time we started being realistic on some of these sensitive issues.Many people we may or rather we call heros have passed on in this country,but we don’t make it akalilo no…change for the better,ku lyamo napashili mwaaaa.

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  23. I agree 100%. These people died as Heroes but no need to be in perptual mourning, and turn the event as source of income. At the ame time Kambwili should learn to be civil in his laguage, surely there was a better way of addressing this.

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  24. The PF mouthpiece is right, we cannot be mourning everyyear, infact even FAZ should announce that this year was the last aftet a life.r winning AFCON , come on people lets ge

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  25. What is really wrong with we Africans always in need for help. These people should work and earn money than always wanting to get paid from grz every year. what aBout families of other footballers who have died else where other than garbon.The minister is right, if they were given their benefits what is the cry for?
    Africa – we africans always asking for help.

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  26. Think the more reazon there iz this hullabalo about the 1993 Gabon saga iz the winning of the AFCON 2012 and the 60,000 US$ or so pocketed by each player. This iz not to mention the 10 billion prize money and what happenz to it. Thoze departed heroez were known to some people at a very personal level and there iz no need for family memberz to hold anyone at ransom. We all will forever remember and miss them so, but it iz UNBIBLICAL to demand to hold flamboyant ceremoniez, year in year out.

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  27. ITS HIGH TIME THAT THESE FAMILIES SHOW SOME MATURITY. WHAT ELSE DO THEY WANT REALLY??? THEY WERE COMPENSATED ACCORDINGLY AND ALL THEIR DUES SETTLED. SO MANY PEOPLE HAVE DIED WHILST IN THE LINE!

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  28. ITS HIGH TIME THAT THESE FAMILIES SHOW SOME MATURITY. WHAT ELSE DO THEY WANT REALLY??? THEY WERE COMPENSATED ACCORDINGLY AND ALL THEIR DUES SETTLED. SO MANY PEOPLE HAVE DIED WHILST IN THE LINE OF DUTY!

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  29. I thought most of those bodies were not identified and some body parts were randomly put in cofins.I see no sense in someone exhuming only a skull and femur bone.

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  30. we lost a lot of Freedom fighters during the Independence struggle as well as soldiers during the liberation wars. All these died on national duty. Do we or have we ever had a memorial and do their families ask for money always?

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  31. Natulenwafye! what so special about the report kansi ayi? If they are told what happened in Gabon then what?? Will the report bring back their bululuzi? 
    Bar man…give us another round pls!

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  32. They also want the full report to be made public: Why did the team use a Buffalo plane which is only used for short distances during military operations? Was the plane serviced? Who made the decision that they should fly in that uncomfortable “lorry”? Was the plane shot down in Referee Diramba’s land? Why has the past three presidents (Chiluba, Mwanawasa, Banda) failed to release this report? Can the PF do it? What is so secretative about this report?

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  33. SAKWAIBA SIKOTA was the lawyer for these people…he shared the money with them. Now he is sharing with MMD plunderers…OK ili che! How long will they mourn me?? Soldiers die at battle front and it ends there…these guys were going for pleasure (social football) in Senegal & we want to politicize malilo yabo…PLIZ!

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  34. The refusal by all govts to release Gabon air crush report shows that there is sensitive information which is not for public consumption- and this is normal everywhere in the world. For crying out loud, the govt took responsibility and compensated everyone in accordance with whatever their lawyer deemed reasonable. What these widows must appreciate is that this is tax payer’ money used to compensate them and for the annual commemoration costs. We are also fatigued with this event, I agree with Kambwili, this is a family affair now, whichever way you look at it, let the sleeping dogs lie.

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  35. Kambwili is right this is a christian nation and most of those who died were christians and it’s not right to be grieving for ever and ever.Read 1thesalonians 4v13-18.Its a sin to idolise mourning period.Remember the prophessy Prophet TBJoshua gave.Pls let us stop mourning but thank God for our fallen heroes because what they died for has been achieved.It will be shamefull for them to exhume bodies when some of them wont even afford to rebury decently.Remembering every 5 yrs as a nation is more than enough.

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  36. I remember, when the fallen heros died, 1993, that is when Hon. Kambwili had just been employed as a HR labour statics clerk by ZCCM Ltd. He was actually gotten by then ZCCM Ltd Chairman and president Mr. Edward Shamutete from being a dancing queen at Nchanga recreation club.Therefore, he should not be held accountable or responsible over this. He is equally a new and innocent person in this matter. He also just found it. Moreover, the so called Gabon widows are no longer widows, as most of them are now married and have new children fathered by other new husbands. Mwe bantu, aka kalilofye….!!! For how long are we going to keep on morning, Country men and women…!!! How many people have died since 1993??? Many……………………………!!! Kalu by then was an ordinarly footballer!

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  37. I also remember being in an induction class with at formerly In-Service Training Centre Nchanga. Hon. Kambwili was wearing ka always “kamukame” thru out the 5 days we were undergoing general induction. I remember him during his early days when he used to dance and as a dancing queen at Nchanga Recreation club opposite vestra cinema hall. Lesa uyu, mukulu. Today ni ba Hon. Minister…..!!! Aletasha Lesa!! God does not favor anyone. He cannot annoint anyone regardless his or her background. God Bless! But one thing i quickly noticed in him, was his high level of interaction socially.

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  38. I love Hon. Kambwili because he knows poverty for he has experienced that before. The guy has been a fighter thru out his entire life. From a dancing queen ( Nchanga recreation club-1990), door bouncer, Mr. Shamutete Edward’s body guard to a Human Resource Office, ZCCM Ltd and finally Foreign Affairs Minister is a very enormous achievement. One has to learn from that. So far, he is one of the best performing minister Zambia has ever has.

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  39. We love and respect Hon. Kambili. He is indeed a great performer. So far we have rated him 98.9%.

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  40. Hon. Kambwili is a performer. He is not like the so called degree holders but fail to perform practically. E. Prof. Lungwangwa and many. Can people eat your so called degrees. Please perform……….!!!

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  41. My daughter was a year old when this all happened, her father was among those who perished in the Gabon disaster. Shes 20 years old now and in College. The family to the deceased pocketed all the money received from the government and my daughter received nothing. Did I complain, yes. Did anyone here my cry, no. But I moved on. Moving on doesnt mean we’ve forgotten, we’ve grieved in our own way and we are still mourning. Just like some people have said, I think kalilo, these families were given a lot of money and if they didnt invest it well, too bad. They are able- bodied people and should do what everybody does to survive. Everybody needs sympathy but kwati chachilamo. Its embarrassing and shameful coz most of these women have re-married or are in relationships with other men.

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  42. Way to go CK ! Should we also start commemorating the Bilgrim explosion victims, Mufulira Mine Disaster victims and those that have succumbed to Utujilijili ?

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  43. I can not still believe that Sata had appointed this BUFFOQN Kambwili as a foreign minister in September 2011 and he still continues be in cabinet.

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  44. Some people are such suckers! Joyce, how shameless can you be, asking for handouts for 2 decades? Come on sis, get a life! The only difference between your late husband and my own equally dead one is that yours was in the public eye and mine wasn’t. I have raised my own children single handedly…the lone he left in the womb is now 18 years and in University. Govt handouts my foot!

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  45. Hon. Kambwili has a point, but it’s probably the tone and manner in which the point has come out that makes it sound harsh!

    People should remember that regardless of whether he has just found this “problem” or not, its the position he holds that makes him responsible regadless of whether he was who knows where in 1993,….!

    How do you honestly say something like, “go ahead and Exhume the bodies…”….

    Dealing with people in such sensitive matters is very difficult, …. And Hon. Kambwili holds a very high position, and with great power comes great responsibility…. Responsibility is not only financial, it’s the way you also transmit the message,… For me, as usual with him,..it’s the tone i have a problem with,…

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  46. As for the report!

    From the grapevines(both international and local) the things i heard about what happened,…i strongly doubt if this report will ever come out,….!

    The only thing we can hope for is a Discovery Channel Documentary fishing out some conspiracy theories,….! The clues are all there to be seen,….

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  47. Diging up the bones for the soccer heroes is something bad as others have said forgert about our beloved soccer stars, i know we miss them but we ca not bring them back instead will find them in heaven Pls dont dig the heroes every time i come home i always remember them Emmanuel Rustenburg. Im so so sad

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