First Republican President Dr. Kenneth Kaunda will be buried twice.
Dr. Kaunda’s son Tilyenji has confirmed the development during a live interview on Diamond TV from the house of mourning monitored in Lusaka.
According to Tilyenji Kaunda, the first burial will be done at the Presidential Burial Site as planned and the second burial at his residence in state Lodge next to his wife Betty Kaunda.
Mr. Kaunda says the Family and the state have agreed that his second burial will only be done once preparations conclude.
And in responding to a court matter filed by his brother Kaweche challenging the state’s decision to bury Dr. Kaunda at the memorial park, Mr. Tilyenji Kaunda expressed ignorance over the matter.
He however revealed that the majority of the family members have agreed that the late statesman be buried twice.
Earlier yesterday. Kaweche had applied to the High Court for an injunction to stop the government from going ahead to bury Dr Kenneth Kaunda at the Embassy Park, the presidential burial site on Wednesday.
Kaweche and other family members have requested the State to respect Dr Kaunda’s wish to be buried next to his wife, Mama Betty at their State Lodge residence.
The application is awaiting High Court judge Wilfred Muma’ signature.
Kaweche said the funeral ceremony can go ahead at Embassy Park but not intering the body there.
He said intering the body must be done at the place of his wish, which is next to Mama Betty.
Kaweche, who is represented by Simeza Sangwa and associates, has commenced judicial review proceedings challenging government’s resolution to put the nation’s founding father to rest at the Presidential burial site.
He has cited the Secretary to the cabinet Dr Simon Miti in the Court action.
Kaweche argues that it is illegal for government to burry the remains of Dr Kaunda at embassy park on July 7, 2021 and thereafter exhume the body and rebury it next to his wife mama Betty Kaunda on subdivision no.9 of subdivision A of Farm no.28a Lusaka in accordance with his wishes.
He is seeking a declaration that the government’s decision to bury his father’s body at embassy park and later exhume it and burry him at his farm next to Mama Betty at State Lodge as the deceased wished was null and void for want of authority on the part of government.
Kaweche wants an order of certiorari to quash government’s decision.
He is also seeking an order of mandamus compelling government to release the remains of Dr Kaunda to the family so that they can honour his wish to be entombed next to Mama Betty.
Kaweche prayed that if leave is granted it should operate as a stay of government’s decision pursuant to Rule 3(10)(a) of order 53 of the rules of the Supreme Court and that hearing of the matter be expedited.
In his notice of application for leave to apply for judicial review, Kaweche said that following the death of President Levy Mwanawasa in 2008, government had no designated place to bury serving and former heads of state.
Kaweche stated that Dr Mwanawasa’s widow Maureen agreed with government to have the late President’s remains buried at the now Embassy Park.
He said by statutory instrument no. 64 of 2009 dated September 18, 2009 pursuant to section 27 of the National Heritage Conservation Commission Act, chapter 173 of the Zambian laws, Embassy Park was officially designated as a national monument where former heads of state would be put to rest.
The applicant stated that others who have been put to rest at Embassy Park are Zambia’s second president Fredrick Chiluba, who died on June 18, 2011 and president Michael Sata, who died on November 11, 2014.
Kaweche argues that there was no law which allowed government to bury its former presidents at Embassy Park.
“During his lifetime, the deceased (Dr Kaunda) was aware that his predecessors whom he had outlived had been buried at Embassy Park. However, his wish which he shared with his children and grandchildren was that he be buried next to his wife on sub-division no. 9 of Sub-division A of Farm no.28a Lusaka,” Kaweche stated.
“His wish was communicated to the secretary to the cabinet during his lifetime and the correspondence will be made available after discovery.”
Kaweche said after Dr Kaunda died on June 17, 2021, the issue of his resting place came up and the position of government was that his remains would be buried at Embassy Park contrary to his wishes.
“By letter dated June 21,2021, the children and grandchildren of Dr Kaunda wrote to government reiterating the wishes of the deceased to be buried next to his wife. Dr Miti responded to the said letter on June 22, 2021 wherein he proposed a compromise that the remains of the deceased be buried at Embassy Park on July 7 and that after a few months the remains would be exhumed and reburied at his farm next to Mama Betty to conform to the deceased’s wishes,” Kaweche disclosed.
He said in response, the children and grandchildren sent a letter dated June 23, 2021 to President Edgar Lungu and copied it to Dr Miti rejecting the proposed compromise and insisted that the wishes of Dr Kaunda be respected and his remains be buried once and for all next to his wife.
The applicant stated that it was illegal for government to go against Dr Kaunda’s wish to be buried at his farm in preference to the presidential burial site.
“There has been no response from either President Lungu or Dr Miti. Plans are at an advanced stage for the remains of Zambia’s founding father to be buried at Embassy Park in complete disregard of the wishes of the deceased,” said Kaweche.