Debating Funerals

PF Ministers are the Funeral of Gender Minister Victoria Kalima
PF Ministers are the Funeral of Gender Minister Victoria Kalima
PF Ministers are the Funeral of Gender Minister Victoria Kalima
PF Ministers are the Funeral of Gender Minister Victoria Kalima

By Dickson Jere

Had we been a reading citizens, this debate would not arise.
It is all written in the the Government Policy of 2012 which governs State Funerals. The President of Zambia does not just wake up and decide the number of days of national mourning to accord a former leader. He is guided by the policy. And so the debate and comparison between Hon. Victoria Kamima, MP(Minister of Gender) and Hon. Daniel Munkombwe (former Deputy Minister) mourning periods is uncalled for.

Listen – the policy provides that a serving minister who dies is to be accorded three days of national mourning. That is what happened with Hon. Kalima. A former cabinet minister is to get one day of national mourning! Former President and serving Vice President is five days! All written.

But please note that the policy does not cater for former deputy ministers! Hon. Munkombwe was never a full cabinet minister… and so he does not automatically qualify for national mourning under the policy! Therefore, the acting President, Hon. Inonge Wina, used her discretion under the policy to accord Hon. Munkombwe an “OFFICIAL” funeral and not “STATE” funeral! The two are different! As for a former Cabinet Minister (whether in opposition or not) is entitled to state funeral as a matter of right!
We just lost the Mayor of Lusaka, Wilson Kalumba (PF Member), he was not accorded the state funeral simply because he did not qualify!

On the other hand, official funeral can be accorded to anyone at the discretion of the President. And it is this same policy that President Levy Mwanawasa used to accord late UPND President Anderson Mazoka an official funeral.
It reads: “the President shall reserve the right to decide which other persons shall be accorded an official funeral other than those listed in the guidelines and in such circumstances.”

Others entitled to State Funerals are; President, Vice President, Chief Justice, Speaker of the National Assembly, Cabinet Ministers and other state officials listed in the guidelines. All former holders of these offices are also entitled to State Funeral and different days of mourning are written in that policy. State Funeral, depending on the rank of office, also involves military rituals such as 21 gun-salute for the head of state.
“The logistics for a state funeral shall include the provision of caskets, tents, and firewood, gun salute and escort….” the policy further reads.

Instead of debating what is already written, maybe we should be advocating for the change of policy to accord other leaders state funerals if that is the wish of Zambians. Comparing Hon Kalima (three days of mourning) and Hon. Munkombwe (one day of mourning) is missing a point. The two are in different categories despite the fact that Hon. Munkombwe May have served government longer than Hon. Kalima. That is why Americans say “law is an ass” and until it is changed, we abide by it.


  1. State funeral or no state funeral when you’re dead you’re dead. Personally I don’t care how I am buried.

    • 3 days holiday is ok.
      But for State House team leaving ichitumbi of a minister or statesman in mortuary and decide to use the 3 days holiday to go and drink in Kenya is immoral. And it’s not first time.
      Was Victoria not important????
      Nichi bena tabafwa.

    • These tumalittle men who enter state house by default. By bootlicking ruling party leaders, like this Dick guy, Amos Chanda think they become authorities because they worked from state house. His article above is full of exclamation marks because he is demanding our attention. Who wants to know how a funeral is held? We just shouldn’t be troubled by state funerals!!!

    • Mr Dickson Jere, do not patronise Zambian citizens. How can you insinuate that Zambians do not read? You were at State House and you came across this silly boys and girls club policy which was never voted for by the Zambian people but appended by politicians for their own selfish ends. REALLY! What purpose does this policy serve? Why should the whole country slow down just because a Minister has died? I would argue that even the death of a former President should not be more than a day of national mourning. These people have lived on Taxpayers’ money in office and in retirement and now, we should pay to bury them as well? Puleeze. We are a poor country that needs all hands on deck every day of the week. We cannot afford underproductivity. We have named places after them. Is that not…

    • In fact National mourning should be 2 weeks.
      You work so hard like abena Kapyongo or Lusambo, and no national mourning??

    • Nyanjas are “superior” to Tongas, that’s what they’re telling us.

      The small girl who was a tribalist was accorded 3 days national mourning. She was in the fore-front of Wako-ni-wako campaign which saw RB & other easterners in MMD rally behind Lungu in 2015 elections. She was rewarded by a ministerial position. The wako-ni-wako campaign is still on-going with the retiring “in national interest” of civil servants from N/W Rhodesian tribes especially Tongas, Lozis & Luvales and being replaced by RB’s relatives & friends.

      On the other hand Daniel Munkombwe was a hard-worker, true nationalist who was PF & didn’t join UPND in spite of him being Tonga.

  2. Daniel Munkombwe was a Cabinet Minister in the UNIP govt. When Reuben Chitandika Kamanga died there wasn’t any policy in place. However Grey Zulu took the initiative and approached FTJ despite Chiluba’s attitude towards those that served under KK. Grey Zulu reasoned with FTJ that it was going to embarrass the nation if govt failed to accord a former VP a befitting funeral. His mission to State House was successful. However, policy or no policy we need to mourn each other and with dignity

  3. yes Mr Daniel Munkombwe was a full Cabnet Minister in 1982…..he was minister of Agriculture and water development… UNIP govt…

    • The author of the article opens with “had we been a reading citizens” and in haste to clarify he himself forgot to do a bit of reading on Munkombwe to get informed that indeed Munkombwe was at one time in his political career a minister! Say what you want for despite what the written laws say their application are at the interpretation mercy of the party in government.

  4. Maloza….Nyanjas or Easterners…we re not superior to Tongas or any other tribe…..Pliz dont blame President RB…he ruled this country well..en he left $2billion dollars in reserves in 2011….On state funeral late president Sata didnt give late Cardinal Joseph Merdado Mazombwe….wen the first Zambian Cardinal was entitled for that….So let us appreciate what the acting president Madam Inonge Wina has to give state funeral to the great son of Zambia and Africa….Mr Munkombwe

  5. Just like if you don’t pay tithe your body won’t pass through the church before burial. I pay my church dues not because of this but because the church can not run without money. Having your body pass through church won’t erase one’s sins.


  7. Law is law that is what you should know from today forward. No nyanja no tonga but what is written in the law of the state.

  8. Thanks counsel for shading light on the official and state funerals accorded to these notables. I was equally in the dark but never went out to blubber like many loonies championing the !after without understanding.

  9. People need to stop this bs put it this nonsense to sleep by a ballot. People need to be voting on some of these issues not giving all the powers to one person the president to decide whom he loves or hates, PF or UPND member. As a democratic government chosen by the people work for the people.

  10. Sick, what a nosence article. The document you cited was written by political hacks like you at state house not zambians. Anyway we should not give thieves extra days when they die, we have suffered enough

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