Learn from Chiluba’s mistakes, urges Raila Odinga....
KENYAN Prime Minister Raila Odinga
KENYAN Prime Minister Raila Odinga has urged Africans to draw lessons from late Zambian President Frederick Chiluba’s pioneering role in introducing opposition politics, learn from his mistakes and be stronger in their resolve to move the continent forward.
In his message of condolences to Chiluba’s family and Zambians on the passing of Chiluba, who ruled the country between 1991 and 2001, Prime Minister Odinga said Chiluba’s corruption allegations after leaving office were perils of leadership without adequate constitutional checks, balances and guarantees.
“It is unfortunate that he eventually slipped into Kaunda's own methods of suppressing opposition and was dogged by corruption allegations into his retirement. Such are the perils of leadership without adequate constitutional checks, balances and guarantees,” Odinga said.
“On behalf of the people of Kenya, and the rest of our continent still struggling with issues of democracy, good governance, accountability and reforms, I mourn President Chiluba.
I wish that we could draw lessons from his pioneering role in introduction of opposition politics, learn from his mistakes and be stronger in our resolve to move our countries and our continent forward.”
Prime Minister Odinga said as a ruler, Chiluba might have strayed from his promises but his initial expansion of civil and political rights made Zambia become seen as a model of democracy on a troubled continent.
“It gave us reason to push harder in Kenya, and an example to point to, of what the changes we were looking for would mean for our people here in Kenya,” said Odinga, who was forced into a coalition government with President Mwai Kibaki after bloody riots that left hundreds dead following the 2008 presidential election to which he and the incumbent President claimed victory.
He said he learnt of Chiluba’s death with sadness and conveyed deep condolences to his family, friends and Zambians.
“For those of us then involved in the struggle for the re-introduction of multi-party politics in Kenya, Mr Chiluba’s victory in Zambia in November 1991 served as a significant morale booster,” Prime Minister Odinga said.
“Chiluba’s election was the clearest signal to us that we were not fighting a lone or losing battle in Kenya, that Africa was in the mood for another sweeping political change and that it was possible for independence parties that had run our countries to ruin since independence, to be defeated.”
South African President Jacob Zuma also paid tribute to Chiluba.
“On behalf of the government and people of South Africa, we would like to take this opportunity to extend our heartfelt condolences and sincere sympathies to the government and people of the Republic of Zambia as they try to come to terms with the loss of their own,” President Zuma said in a statement.
Chiluba, 68, died in the early hours of Saturday.
His spokesperson Emmanuel Mwamba said Chiluba suffered an unknown attack, leading to his death at home.
Chiluba has been suffering from a heart problem since 2006. Meanwhile President Rupiah Banda yesterday declared an eight-day national mourning period for Chiluba who will be burried on June 27 in Lusaka.
According to an announcement issued by Secretary to the Cabinet Dr Joshua Kanganja, President Banda declared today June 20 to June 27, as period of national mourning for Chiluba.
“During the period of national mourning, all flags will fly at half-mast, and all radio and television stations should play solemn music between 06:00 hours and 18:00 hours. All activities of entertainment nature should therefore be postponed or cancelled,” Dr Kanganja stated.
“Further, in the light of this development, I wish to inform organisers and the general public that the Africa Public Service Day activities which were scheduled to run from Monday, the 20th of June to Thursday, the 23rd of June have been postponed.”