VICE-President Mutale Nalumango says the new dawn administration is proud of late former cabinet minister Alexander Chikwanda’s achievements in both the political and economic landscape of the country.

And former vice-president Enoch Kavindele has described Chikwanda as a nationalist.

Meanwhile, Chikwanda’s son, Thilasoni, says his father’s real craft was friendship, citing his relationship with first president Kenneth Kaunda even after resigning from his Cabinet.

Speaking during Chikwanda’s funeral procession, Saturday, Vice-President Nalumango said current and future leaders needed to emulate Chikwanda who put the interest of the nation first.

“My prayer to you, the widow and the family, is that even as we mourn and pay our last respects to our dear departed honourable Alexander Bwalya Chikwanda, we must also celebrate his life. It was a life well lived and a life of service to the nation. It encourages both the old and the young because he started his life early particularly in his political engagements. Government is equally saddened that the nation has lost a number of its great sons and daughters. This is regrettable as this generation of freedom fighters is not only our source of wisdom and knowledge but also the pride of our nation. In this regard, the death of honourable Chikwanda is truly a big loss not only to his family to whom he was a dependable provider, strong pillar and unifier but also to the government and Zambians,” she said.

“Honorable Chikwanda has run his race and he was an accomplished politician of incomparable charisma. Like most of his peers, Mr Chikwanda joined politics at a young age to contribute to the freedom struggle of our country. We say thank you to him and many other freedom fighters that have passed on for their patriotism. Our generation enjoys peace and freedom because of the life of honourable Chikwanda who put the interest of the nation first. This is worth emulating by the current and future generations of leaders. The new dawn is proud of the achievements that the late honorable Chikwanda has left in both the political and economic landscape of our country.”

Vice-President Nalumango said government would emulate Chikwanda who tirelessly worked for the betterment of citizens.

“Honourable Chikwanda had a long fruitful and illustrious record of service in Zambia. He was one of the longest serving cabinet Ministers of this time. As a seasoned economist, he contributed immensely to transforming the economy of the country in his private and public service capacity. There is no doubt that as a minister of state, honourable Chikwanda performed beyond the expectation of his appointing authority,” said Vice-President Nalumango.

“I am comforted that the numerous and evident permanent marks resulting from hard work, commitment and loyalty that honourable Chikwanda has left, the public and private sector speak volumes about the kind of man we are putting to rest today. Government has no doubt that through his selfless works, we will all emulate the late honourable Chikwanda who tirelessly worked for the betterment of citizens.”

Meanwhile, Kavindele said Chikwanda was a nationalist.

“Many of you could be wondering how ABC was my friend because of our age difference but he was like a brother to me. ABC, during his days in Mufulira, inspired youths to join UNIP or the liberation struggle. So a lot of young people went to UNIP because of ABC who brought them in. For me, he was my political mentor over the years that I have been in politics. We did a lot of things together. ABC was a nationalist. Some of the decisions he made those days still show up to now,” said Kavindele.

“Others did not like them while others liked them. I learnt from him all the little politics in my head. ABC actually had more friends outside his tribal grouping. His tribesmen were there but in terms of friendship, he had more from outside. There are very few people that did not benefit from his generosity. I admired that from a man who was advancing in age. That was the discipline ABC had. I have a lot of things to say but his fairness is also critical.”

Meanwhile, paying tribute to his father, Chikwanda’s son, Thilasoni, said his father’s real craft was friendship.

“A few days ago I picked up on an article that described the resignation of my father during the Kaunda cabinet era in which my father said some very bold things that antagonised Mr Kaunda. There was a lot of speculation as to how that would end. A lot of people speculated that this would be a devastating end of my father’s political career. But instead, my father was given a very ceremonial farewell and a respectful send off by Kenneth Kaunda. When people asked him how that came to be, he said that ‘KK was my friend. I am not one of his psycho fans’. Therefore, to me, it is a reflection of my father’s real craft. People talk about his generosity but his real craft was that of friendship,” said Thilasoni.

“My father was very good at crafting friendships with people of all ages. Particularly, my father had a friendship with all of his children. He had a special friendship with each one of us. A very unique friendship based on our strengths and weaknesses. We were all special and equal to my father. Those who he failed to have friendships with within the family, he was ever generous to them. He had an impact on everyone. Sometimes his generosity went beyond himself to the extent of him forgetting about his needs. As children, we came together and took care of his medical needs and we were his pillar towards the end. He was our pillar throughout our lives but we had an opportunity as his children to be ones there for him.”

On Saturday, Chikwanda’s funeral procession was attended by various political leaders among them, former vice presidents Inonge Wina and Nevers Mumba.

PF officials were also present to pay their last respects to their member who served as member of the central committee as well as a Trustee.