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UN Chief mourns Zambian Ex-president, Banda

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has condoled with the government and people of Zambia over the death of the country’s former President, Rupiah Banda, who passed on at Age 85.

The Secretary-General was saddened to learn of the passing of Banda, the fourth President of the Republic of Zambia, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General, Farhan Haq, told newsmen in New York.

“He expresses his deep condolences to the bereaved family as well as to the government and people of Zambia.

“Former President Banda was a visionary statesman who made significant contributions to peace and unity in Zambia and across the African continent.

“The United Nations stands with Zambians in this period of national mourning,’’ Haq said.

Zambia has declared seven days of national mourning for Banda who was president from 2008 until 2011.

President Hakainde Hichilema declared the period of national mourning and said that Banda’s state funeral would be held on Thursday and he would be buried on Friday at the presidential burial site at Embassy Park.

Hichilema visited Banda a day before his death on March 11.

Banda became president following the death of his predecessor Levy Mwanawasa who had earlier brought him out of political retirement to become vice-president.

His political activism began when he was a youth and was involved in demonstrations calling for Zambia’s independence from Britain, which was achieved in 1964.

He later served as a diplomat and a soccer administrator.

Banda was known for his warm personality that helped him to lead Zambia when his compatriots needed a unifier upon the unexpected death of Mwanawasa.

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