The Zambian government has announced that ex-President Rupiah Banda, who passed away Friday, will be buried on March 18 at the Presidential Burial Site, Embassy Park, in the capital Lusaka.
The state funeral will take place on March 17 at the Lusaka Showground with foreign heads of state and government scheduled to attend.
The President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Hakainde Hichilema, has declared a seven-day period of national mourning in honour of Banda for his contribution to the nation.
Banda ruled Zambia between 2008 and 2011 before the late Michael Sata of the Patriotic Front took over.
Banda grew up in the former Southern Rhodesia and became actively involved in Zambia’s fight for independence when he was a teenager. Two years ago he was diagnosed with colon cancer.
One of his favourite stories was about how colonial masters caught him delivering mail to liberation fighters and imprisoned him.
His diplomatic career began after Zambia gained independence from Britain in 1964.
At the age of 27, Zambia’s founding president Kenneth Kaunda appointed him as the country’s first ambassador to Egypt.
He was appointed Zambia’s ambassador to the United States at the age of 30.
He was appointed Zambia’s vice-president by the late Levy Mwanawasa after the 2006 general election.
After Mwanawasa suffered a stroke while on assignment in Egypt in June 2008, he assumed Mwanawasa’s presidential duties.
In August 2008, Banda became acting president after Mwanawasa died. He then narrowly won a snap election against Michael Sata. Michael Sata, however, narrowly won the presidential vote in September 2011.
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