THE Lusaka Muslim Society has named a road in Lilayi after former Republican President Rupiah Bwezani Banda.
And Banda says the honor will give him the strength to fight cancer of the colon which he has been diagnosed with.
The Rupiah Bwezani Banda road is a one kilometer stretch at Total filling station, off Kafue Road from Linda turnoff round-about.
Speaking at the unveiling of the road name, Banda thanked the community for the honor.
“You can imagine what a great honor it is for me and my family and my late father who is the middle name ‘Bwezani’ for the recognition for the good neighborliness that we are doing together in this neighborhood and deciding to name this road after me and my family. There is nothing I can say than to say this is deeply touching. I like people and when people like me back, it makes things very good. As you have heard today, I announced that I am not very well. I have been diagnosed with the cancer of the colon. But with things like this, it makes one feel strong to fight and to continue to work with others and make our world, country, our city Lusaka, and the Rupiah Bwezani Banda close makes it a happier place,” Banda said.
He said despite not feeling too well, he forced himself out of bed to receive the great honor.
“Although I wasn’t feeling very well this morning, I said I must get up and go there and receive this honor. Thank you so much and I wish all the people of Zambia to enjoy driving on this close here which has been named after my family, my wife, my family, and my colleagues from my office for the honor that you have given us. I was talking to some young people earlier who called me [and I told them] that patience pays. As you know, I am 83 years old now and still people are honoring me. I became vice-president at the age of 69 and because of my patience of working well with people, not rushing things, I became vice-president at 69 and later on became President of this country,” President Banda said.
“And today, perhaps you don’t realize how big this thing is and that’s why I am putting it next to my vice presidency and presidency. It’s a very important honor for me, my family, my late father whose middle name I am carrying that people of this country will always remember the role that I have played in working together with all Zambians to make our country what it is, a peaceful and a loving country where people can pray to the God as they so wish regardless of what religion. I am very proud that on this same street, this close which has been named after me, a beautiful boutique church of the Muslim, we call it mosque is being built right at the entrance of my home. Every time I come out of my home and I see it germinating, growing more bigger and beautiful, I feel greatly honoured that I will be next to people who are remembering that whoever created us above us is still above us and making sure that we are happy and that our children have a future to look forward to. Thank you so much for the great honour. We thank the city of Lusaka for naming this street after me. And my wife and my children join me in saying thank you.”
And Secretary to the Parkway Eureka Mosque Shehzaad Chaddat said the community decided to honor the former president because he also lived in the same area.
“Today, we are very excited to announce the naming of this road as Rupiah Banda close. We are neighbors of His Excellency. We are setting up a mosque on this road and His Excellency was instrumental in allowing us to build a mosque on this road. We have learnt with great sadness that His Excellency has not been feeling too well and we would like to wish him the best as the Muslim Society. This road was constructed in 2016. And we always knew that his Excellency was living here. Then we thought of what better name to give it. We decided to name it in March or April. We submitted the proposed name to the council and it was approved in July. So, we just got the signs put up this week and that is when we decided that his excellency comes through to do the actual unveiling of the name. We also want to thank the Lusaka City Council for approving the name, especially the mayor and the other people who sit on the council,” said Chaddat.
And Muslim secretary Daniel Princeloo wished Banda good health as he fights cancer.
“We would like to wish His Excellency the Former President of the Republic of Zambia, the best of health, more life and happiness. Today, we are here to name this road here in Lilayi after His Excellency Rupiah Bwezani Banda. We are here to appreciate him and show him how much we love. As citizens of this country, we looked to him for more guidance each and every day of our lives and with love, we present it to you sir,” said Princeloo.