Monday, 1 September 2008

THE MOURNING TRAIL


THE LATE ZAMBIAN PRESIDENT LEVY PATRICK MWANAWASA WILL BE BURIED ON WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2008.
HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN CELEBRATING HIS 60TH BIRTHDAY THAT DAY.
LAST WEEK, HIS BODY WAS TAKEN TO ALL THE NINE PROVINCIAL CENTRES OF ZAMBIA.
I WAS PREVILEGED TO BE AMONG THE CREW THAT DELEGATION, WHICH ESCORTE THE PRESIDENT.
I WAS IN THE ADVANCE PARTY WITH TWO OTHER JOURNALISTS, NIGEL MULENGA FROM THE ZAMBIA DAILY MAIL AND GOODSON LUPIYA, FROM THE ZAMBIA NEWS AND INFORMATION SERVICES.
GENERALLY, THERE WERE THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WHO WANTED TO PAY THEIR LAST TRIBUTES TO MWANAWASA.
IN SOME PROVINCES, THE DEFENCES FORCES OPENLY CLASHED WITH THE DEFENCELESS AND CURIOS MOURNERS WHO JSOTLED TO DO THE BODY VIEWING.
WE STARTED WITH CHIPATA IN EASTERN PROVINCE ON MONDAY 25TH SEPTEMBER 2008 WHERE MULTITUDES THRONGE THE AIRPORT TO VIEW THE BODY.
IT WAS HERE WERE THE FIRST LADY MAUREEN MWANAWASA AND OPPOSITION PATROTIC FRONT LEADER MICHEAL SATA HAD A CONFRONTATION.
WE PROCEEDED TO KASAMA IN THE NORTH WHERE THE BODY WAS RECEIVED AT THE AIRPORT. THE FUNERAL PROCESSION WENT TO KASAMA STADIUM WHERE MOURNERS WERE GATHERED. SPEECHES WERE MADE AND ONE OF THEM WAS WHERE THE PROVINCIAL MINISTER LAMECK CHIBOMBAMILIMO CALLED ON THE RULING PARTY TO CONSIDER ADOPTING THE FIRST LADY FOR PRESIDENCY. HE ALSO ASKED THE PARTY TO EMBRACE MR SATA AND WORK WITH HIM CSLOSELY.
I AM SURE MR CHIBOMBAMILIMO WAS OBLIVIOUS OF WHAT HAPPENED BETWEEN THE FIRST LADY AND MR SATA EARLIER THAT DAY.
IN KASAMA, MOURNERS CLASHED WITH THE POLICE. SOME PEOPLE WERE INJURED. OTHERS LOST VALUABLES SUCH AS CAPS, SHOES, HAIR EXTENSIONS AND MANY OTHERS. WE MADE A NIGHT STOP OVER HERE AND MR MWANAWASA’S BODY LAY IN REPOSE AT THE PRESIDENTIAL LODGE.
FROM KASAMA, WE FLEW TO MANSA IN LUAPULA PROVINCE WHERE THE SITUATION WAS ALMOST A REPLICA OF KASAMA.
DURING THE TRIP, MRS MWANAWASA LOOKED CALM AND COLLECTED. SHE RARELY SPOKE AND WAS CLAD IN A BLACK DRESS AS A FUNERAL CUSTOM.
NDOLA, WHERE MR MWANAWASA GREW UP WAS OUR NEXT STOP. HERE COMMANDOES FROM THE ZAMBIA ARMY RECEIVED THE BODY AND ESCORTED IT UP TO THE TRADE FAIR GROUNDS WHERE THE FUNERAL PROCESSION WAS DONE. WE MADE A NIGHT STOP OVER HERE AGAIN AND MR MWANAWASA’S BODY LAY IN REPOSE AT THE PRESIDENTIAL LODGE ON KABELENGA ROAD.
THE FOLLOWING MORNING, WE PROCEEDED TO SOLWEZI IN NORTH WESTERN PROVINCE WHERE MOURNERS STARTED LINING UP FOR BODY VIEWING AROUND 03:00 HOURS THAT MORNING.
HERE, MULTITUDES GATHERED AND JOSTLED IN LONG WINDING QUEUES FOR BODY VIEWING.
I ALSO SPOTTED THE PALLBEARERS BEING MASSAGED BECAUSE OF EXHAUSTION GAINED FROM THE ‘HEAVY PRESIDENTIAL’ CASKET BUT I SUFFERED THE USUAL CENSORSHIP FROM TAKING AN IMAGE.
MONGU IN WESTERN ZAMBIA WAS OUR NEXT STOP FROM SOLWEZI.
THE USUAL FUNERAL PROCESSION FOLLOWED, BUT THE SITUATION WAS OVERWHELMED BY THE NUMBER OF RESIDENTS WHO THRONGED BOTH THE AIRPORT AND PRESIDENTIAL GUEST HOUSE TO PAY THEIR TRIBUTES TO LEVY.
HERE, MANY PEOPLE SUFFRED BODILY INJURIES BUT THE ZAMBIA RED CROSS SOCIETY AND OTHER HEALTH WORKERS WERE AT HAND TO OFFER EMERGENCY SERVICES.
AFTER A HIGHT STOP IN MONGU WE WENT TO LIVINGSTONE IN THE SOUTH AND WINDED UP THE PROGRAMME WITH KABWE IN CENTRAL ZAMBIA.
OVER AND ABOVE, ZAMBIANS IN THE PROVINCES WERE ALLOWED AN OPPORTUNITY TO BID FAREWELL TO LEVY. HOWEVER, MANY PEOPLE DID NOT DO THAT BECAUSE OF THE TIME FACTOR AND HEINOUS NATURE OF THE SCHEDULE.
BUT JUST THE MERE EFFORT TO TAKE THE BODY OF THE DEPART PRESIDENT WAS A GOOD IDEA TO MANY EXTENTS BECAUSE LEVY WAS A PRESIDENT OF ALL ZAMBIANS AND NOT ONLY A CERTAIN REGION OF THIS COUNTRY.

5 comments:

Heidi said...

I really like the photography on your site. I am from Australia, but married to a Zambian husband. I am studying photography in Australia. I am really interested in Zambian photography, so have to add you as one of my new favourites. If I am ever in Zambia again I would so love to learn from you.

mercy said...

I spent and hour on your site. liked your photos,as a "photographer" I would have loved some to be my shots.I'll be following your job and try and learn something
Unfortunatly got to your site over our President's death. May He R.I.P.
Mercy - Rome,Italy

thepicturemonger said...

I would like to thank you for visiting my blog and for the comments. I am humbled and really would like to continue with this communication.

As for you Heidi, I would be glad if we could share the knowledge.

And Mercy, I would also like to learn somathing from you as well.

best regards.

M said...

Thanks for posting the pics. They made those of us away from home feel a part of what has happened back home. Could you please post Maureen's eulogy?

Teresa Kasonde Evans said...

Thankx for the pictures and will miss our president even though we are too far.It looks like we are there as well.May his body rest in peace Amen.

Teresa Evans
Atlanta Georgia.