Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki on Tuesday mourned his departed Zambian counterpart, Levy Mwanawasa, describing him as an avid defender of justice who demonstrated his willingness to fight corruption by resigning as Vice – President.
The Zambian President died in France early Tuesday after suffering a second stroke during an African Union (AU) Heads of State and governments assembly meeting in Egypt. He collapsed while attending an African leaders’ roundtable on peace an d security.
In a condolence message to Zambian Vice President Rupia Banda, President Kibaki said the People of Zambia and Africa as a whole had lost an eminent leader who demonstrated exemplary commitment to liberty as well as integrity in the conduct of public affairs throughout his life.
“On behalf of the government, the people of Kenya and on my own behalf, l extend our heartfelt condolences to you personally and through you, to the bereaved family, the government and people of Zambia.”
President Kibaki said the late President Mwanawasa, consistently championed good governance and the rule of law and would be remembered for resigning from the position of Vice President in protest against abuse of office and corruption.
“During the struggle for plural politics in Zambia, the late Mwanawasa played a pivotal role and was not only a source of inspiration and encouragement to the people but he also displayed tremendous powers of the application of the rule of law,” President Kibaki said.
He added that the leadership abilities and qualities displayed by the late President were measures of faith and trust the people of Zambia used to elect him for two terms.
“Prior to his election as President, the late Mwanawasa already had a distinguished career in public service including serving as vice president of Zambia during the tenure of former President Fredrick Chiluba,” the condolence note said.
The Zambian leader presided over the lifting of immunity against prosecutions under which Chiluba would have escaped prosecution, and he later charged his predecessor with corruption.
President Kibaki said although the late Zambian President had left the world, he had bequeathed upon his countrymen and Africa as a whole a legacy greater than h is heritage.
“His struggle for justice and economic well being of his people will be an enduring chapter in the history of Zambia. The greatest honor we can bestow to his departed soul is to build on the moral, social and political foundation he built.”
President Kibaki assured members of the bereaved family and the entire Zambian nation that the Kenyan people were with them at this time of grief. Panapress