VICE-PRESIDENT Mutale Nalumango says former president Rupiah Banda will be greatly missed.

Speaking when she visited Banda’s funeral house, Saturday, Vice-President Nalumango urged Zambians to pray for the bereaved family.

“He is a man that we will remember. Even this government today, I think all of you will remember that he had to broker some talks between the outgoing and the incoming President. He will be missed. I hope and pray that every Zambian will pray for the remaining members of the family, for the widow. Let us also pray for Zambia because we don’t want a country that loses so many of its Presidents. We are so young and yet we seem to have lost the wisdom of yesterday,” said Vice President Nalumango.

“Yes we still have one president in under 60 years of our existence, it is not good for us. We needed them, you remember we consulted Kaunda even at a very old age. So therefore today is another terrible day, another dark day for us as Zambians. I will also hasten to say that there is a day for each one of us, a day like this, how prepared are we? Because it will come to you, it doesn’t choose the age, let us always live prepared by accepting the Lord himself Jesus Christ in our lives. You can’t plan without it. It is part of us. He is gone, next it is someone else, it could be you, it could be me. We thank God for the life we shared with him.”

And former vice president Inonge Wina said Zambians should be proud that they had a leader who embraced everyone.

“We are not there forever, it is a given period of time, you do your work and when your time is over, you hand it over to others. Rupiah Banda was definitely the type who you saw how he performed, how he never quarreled with anyone politically or otherwise. So he is a man that we can learn a lot from, his personal life as well as his public life. I think Zambians should be proud that we had one among us who was so embracing, a leader who would welcome everyone from the grassroots to the highest. I think it is important for political leaders to know that we have come from the people and we will go back to the people. So in our own interactions with the people that should always be in our minds,” said Wina.

Meanwhile, former first lady Maureen Mwanawasa said Banda served the interests of Zambians and not himself.

“It is a very difficult time for our country again. There are really not so many words one can find to comfort the family, to comfort the leadership, to comfort the general citizenry. He did a lot for this country, he was a great diplomat, great governor, minister. What else can we say about president Banda, handing over power? Very few leaders would accept because even the margin of loss was not so big. If you are greedy you can use that as an opportunity to keep power. His interests were about us Zambians and not about him. There is a lot to learn that in leadership being magnanimous is very important. Putting yourself in the shoes of the people you lead is very important,” said Mwanawasa.

“Taking yourself to be behind the people you lead is very important so that you maintain peace. It is part of the legacy of the peace of the country, which we celebrate, which we talk about. Many people have put these puzzles together to have the peace that we talk about. We celebrate ourselves as a peaceful nation not that one individual did it but several people took time off, sacrificed and we can talk about Zambia being peaceful. So every leader who comes has contributed to the peace that we are enjoying. We have our current President, you can’t put value on the peace that has been given to us, where people can move freely, talk freely, express their freedom of expression, freedom of assembly [and] freedom of speech.”