By Simon Abaho
The funeral of Zambia’s founding President, Kenneth Kaunda, is in limbo as some of his children and other family members have rushed to court to stop the government from burying him at a site designated for the country’s heads of state.
Kaunda, who died on June 17, aged 97, had been admitted to Maina Soko Military Hospital in Lusaka and was being treated for pneumonia.
Some of his family members filed a petition at the High Court on Tuesday, seeking to stop the State from burying him at the presidential site in Lusaka.
His son Kaweche asked the court to direct the State to allow the family to bury him at his farm residence, next to his wife Betty, as per his wishes.
In court documents dated July 6, Kaweche asked the court to declare “null and void” the government’s plan to bury Kaunda at the official Embassy Park site.
One of the letters attached to the application was signed by several of Kaunda’s children and grandchildren.
The Zambian government has not commented on the legal action, according to AFP.
‘Burial to go on
But the country’s Solicitor-General Abraham Mwansa said: “We are yet to be served any papers regarding the court process.’’
Reached for comment, Information Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga said the “burial will go on as scheduled on Wednesday”. Kaunda is to be laid to rest at the Presidential Burial Site opposite the World War cenotaph and near State House.
Local media said his wish was to be buried next to his wife, who died on September 18, 2012, aged 86.
The country declared 21 days of mourning and afforded Zambians in the countryside. An opportunity to pay their last respects by taking the casket to the headquarters of all the 10 regions.
Kaunda has roundly been praised for his role in the liberation struggles of neighboring states. His death has been described as the end of an era for the men of his generation.