President Hakainde Hichilema has expressed sadness at the death of former Minister of Finance in the Patriotic Front (PF) government, Alexander Chikwanda.
Mr Chikwanda, who was 84 years old, died in Lusaka today after an illness.
Presidential Spokesperson, Anthony Bwalya, said in a statement to ZANIS this evening that President Hichilema has since sent a message of condolences to the widow of Mr Chikwanda, Margaret and the family.
He said the President has since urged Zambians to pray for the Chikwanda family during these difficult times.
“President Hichilema acknowledges and applauds the enormous contributions the late Hon. Chikwanda rendered to the country and the Zambian people over so many years of public leadership service dating back to the pre-independence era,” Mr. Bwalya said.
Meanwhile, Acting Secretary to the Cabinet, Patrick Kangwa, has announced that Cabinet is working in collaboration with the family of the late Mr. Chikwanda on the funeral arrangements before a detailed burial programme is released.
The late Mr. Chikwanda was among the longest serving Cabinet Ministers in the Government of Zambia.
He was first appointed into government as Minister of State in the Office of the First President Kenneth Kaunda in 1970 and served until 1971 and later as Minister of State for Development Planning from 1971 to 1972.
His first appointment as full Cabinet Minister was in 1972 when he was promoted to the position of Minister of Health, a position he held until 1973.
“From 1973 to 1976, Hon. Chikwanda served as Minister of Planning and Finance after which he was transferred to serve as Minister of Local Government and Housing from 1976 to 1977,” Mr. Kangwa explained.
The late Mr. Chikwanda was in 1977, transferred to the Ministry of Lands and Agriculture in the same capacity until 1978 and in 1979 and 1980, he worked as Minister of Agriculture and Water Development.
Under the PF government, the late Mr. Chikwanda was nominated Member of Parliament in 2011 by the late fifth President of Zambia, Michael Sata, and subsequently appointed as Minister of Finance.
In 2015, President Sata died and Mr. Chikwanda continued to serve as Minister of Finance, this time under the sixth President of Zambia, Edgar Lungu until 2016.
The funeral gathering for the late Mr. Chikwanda is at his residence along Kanyanta Drive, State Lodge in Lusaka.
Mr. Kangwa has however urged members of the public to ensure that Covid-19 guidelines are observed during the mourning period to avoid the spread of the disease.