By Times Reporter
The outpouring of grief that has followed his sudden death is indicative of how Dr Chiluba touched the lives of many Zambians and other people beyond the borders.
But the most appropriate description of Zambia’s multi-party politics hero came from President Rupiah Banda during a Church service in Kanyama Township in Lusaka yesterday.
All words put together, Dr Chiluba was simply a great man, and burying him will indeed be painful.
He will go down the annals of history as a greater human rights activist and a dedicated promoter of liberty for the people.
Dr Chiluba was for a long time associated with the fight for workers’ rights when he served as chairman general of the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions for 17 years.
He was a firm believer in decent work conditions for all Zambians and at times ran into conflict with the UNIP government.
When he became the president of Zambia, he made landmark decisions that some considered harsh but which have now laid Zambia’s solid foundation for economic and social prosperity.
Dr Chiluba decided to bite the bullet by liberalising the economy and encouraging more private sector participation.
That was at a time when parastatal companies were performing poorly and food shortages were widespread.
Dr Chiluba gave room to freedom of speech and is credited for encouraging more media freedom.
The declaration of Zambia as a Christian Nation is another landmark decision associated with the second president.
Dr Chiluba died after an on-and-off battle with a heart condition, and today has been declared a public holiday as Zambia’s gallant leader is being put to rest.
The burial will be broadcast live on ZNBC television and on big screens that will be mounted in all the provincial headquarters.