Ruling Patriotic Front (PF) Founding Member Chishimba Kambwili has expressed shock by opposition United Party for National Developement (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema’s shunning of the state funeral for late First Republican President Dr Kenneth Kaunda.
Speaking when he addressed the media yesterday, Mr Kambwili said Mr Hichilema’s conduct should be condemned by all well-meaning Zambians and demanded that the opposition leader apologize for his conduct to citizens and the Kaunda family.
Mr Kambwili said that Mr Hichilema’s conduct was “typical of him” as he has publicly vowed to never attend State functions.
“I am extremely shocked that my brother and friend Hakainde Hichilema decided to stay away from the official funeral of Dr Kaunda and claimed that he was not invited…….Like I have said, you will know them by their deeds. What my brother did yesterday is unforgivable. Particularly that he is the biggest opposition figure in the country. When he went to sign the book of condolences, was he invited? No one was invited,” he said.
“He did it because he has vowed never to go and attend state functions. I will leave it for the people of Zambia to judge but this must be condemned. I was not invited but I went because it was too big of a function and because members of the public were invited. That is typical of him. The Zambian people, the Kaunda family, needs an apology.”
Mr Kambwili further mentioned that he tried to advise Mr Hichilema when he was his alliance partner to no avail.
“He has always refused to attend state functions. When we were in the alliance I advised that it is important….because when you become Head of State you will also be inviting other people to come to state functions, he totally refused,” he said.
“He only accepted half way by allowing his cadres to be going for these functions, and unfortunately they only attended one women’s day celebration and that was it. So it is unreasonable and an excellent lie for my brother to claim that he was not invited.”
Mr. Kambwili argued that it was possible for the opposition leader to attend the State funeral with or without an invitation.
“In any case, do you need to be invited to go for a funeral? If you look at the program that was released, it clearly states the arrival of opposition political party leaders, the arrival of the general public…..so are you telling that under the general public one cannot go and attend such an important event?”
“This is the function of the founding father of the nation, funeral of the founding father of the nation were foreign dignitaries came and surely that is the function you can decide to watch on a TV in your living room.”