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Former Zambian President Frederick Chiluba To Get State Burial

LUSAKA — Zambia's corruption-tainted former president Frederick Chiluba who died Saturday will be given a state funeral, the cabinet said on Sunday, announcing a week of national mourning.

"The burial will take place on June 27 in Lusaka," the secretary to the cabinet, Joshua Kanganja, said in a statement.

"President Banda of the Republic of Zambia has declared Monday June 20 to June 27 a period of national mourning for the late president Frederick Chiluba," said Kanganja.

The 68-year-old leader, who ruled the southern African country from 1991 to 2001, died at his home Saturday after suffering a seizure.

He had been battling acute heart and kidney problems.

The cabinet also took a decision to postpone all public activities of entertainment and leisure during the period of mourning.

Chiluba was credited with turning the page on the autocratic rule of the country's founding father Kenneth Kaunda but his image was later tainted charges of embezzling state funds.

He was tried for stealing public money amounting to $500,000 during his time in office but later acquitted of the charges in 2008.

In 2010, a Zambian judge dismissed a ruling by a London court that found him and his associates guilty of siphoning $46 million from the state coffers.

If the Zambian courts recognised the ruling, he would have had to pay back the money.

Kaunda was on Sunday among the mourners who arrived at his home to pay their respects.

"Chiluba was a great unionist and died at a very tender age," said Kaunda.

Chiluba's exact date of birth was never confirmed, but he is believed to have been born in 1942 in what is now Zambia's northern neighbour, the Democratic Republic of Congo.

He is survived by his widow Regina, ex-wife Vera Tembo and nine children.

 

 

AFP

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