Former Republican Vice President Lupando Mwape has died in a Johannesburg hospital in South Africa where he was admitted last week.

And President Edgar Lungu says he is saddened with the death of Mwape and wishes the bereaved family strength during the mourning period.

Vice President Inonge Wina authorised the evacuation of Mwape to South Africa for specialised treatment after he was admitted to the University Teaching Hospital for nine days.

Mwape, 68, served as Republican Vice President in the Levy Mwanawasa administration from 2004 to 2006.

He also served as member of parliament for Lukashya constituency of Northern Province and was later appointed as Ambassador to China.

In a statement issued by President Lungu’s Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations Amos Chanda, President Lungu expressed sadness with Mwape’s passing and has since directed Cabinet office to prepare a State funeral in honour of the late former Republican Vice President.

“His Excellency Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu President of the Republic of Zambia has received the death of Mr Mwape with considerable regret and conveys his sincere condolences to the bereaved family. The President is deeply saddened and prays that God Almighty will grant the bereaved family solace and fortitude as they mourn their beloved,” read the statement.

“Cabinet Office has since been instructed to proceed with the preparations for the State funeral in honour of the former Vice-President.”

Meanwhile, veteran politician Vernon Mwaanga described Mwape’s passing as a great loss to the nation as he was a decent man who served the country with humility and integrity.

“I am deeply saddened by the passing on of our former vice-president Honourable Lupando Mwape in [a] Johannesburg hospital. He was a decent man who served with humility and unrivalled integrity. A deeply religious man who respected all people regardless of their status in society. Soft spoken, it was such a great honour to serve with him in government and admire at close range, his belief in the spirit of ‘One Zambia, One Nation.’ I have lost a friend who has left an indelible imprint of hard work, integrity and service to our country,” Mwaanga stated.

He said he hopped young politicians would be inspired by Mwape’s commitment and wisdom exhibited as he served the country in different positions.

“My deepest condolences go to his wife and family who have lost an icon and leader of immeasurable proportion. They have reason to feel proud of what he has been able to achieve in his life. It is my hope and prayer that his wisdom, commitment to the service of his country and hard work, will inspire many young politicians forward,” stated Mwaanga.