By CHUSA SICHONE –
FOREIGN Affairs Deputy Minister Gabriel Namulambe yesterday broke down while viewing the bodies of his late daughter and two grandchildren who died in a road traffic accident in Lusaka on Monday.
Hundreds of people could not hold tears when the pallbearers entered the Cathedral of the Holy Cross around 13:00 hours, carrying the coffins of Rose Namulambe, 18, Jennifer Chigunta, 15, and five-year-old Jane Luyando Chigunta.
Mr Namulambe first broke down when Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Emmanuel Chenda hugged him to console him shortly after Vice-President Guy Scott and his wife, Charlotte, led the way in comforting him.
The deputy minister, in the company of his daughter Angela, could again not hold his emotions while viewing the bodies of his daughter and grandchildren around 14:50 hours.
In his tribute to the deceased trio, Mr Namulambe said since Monday he had difficulties to think about anything because he had gone through a lot of pain and anguish.
He said the loss of his daughter and grandchildren was too heavy for him.
“Losing a daughter and grandchildren is something very heavy,” he said.
Mr Namulambe said the demise of the three had taught him to grow stronger and believe in the Lord, adding that he would have loved to see the deceased children grow into adults but that the will of God had prevailed.
He said the death of the three also reminded him of how Jesus suffered before He was nailed to the cross, and thanked the Church for being instrumental in strengthening the bereaved family.
Dr Scott said he has had enough of visiting accident scenes, funeral homes, and hospitals because of the rampant road traffic accidents in the country.
“We have unacceptable levels of carnage on our roads. We can’t continue to lose our young children like this,” Dr Scott said.
He said one of the first things he did when the Patriotic Front came into power was to work towards preventing road traffic accidents in the country and, thus, formed a committee comprising the Ministry of Home Affair, the Road Transport and Safety Agency as well as the Zambia Police Service.
He was, however, saddened that the committee was no longer vibrant and implored Mr Namulambe to partner with him, once he had regained strength, in reviving the committee in a bid to save lives.
Family spokesperson Leslie Mbula said the death of the three had robbed the country of a future generation and thanked President Michael Sata for being among the many people who consoled the family through a letter to Mr Namulambe, which was also read out in church.
He challenged traffic officers, road engineers and driving schools, among others, to put in place measures to help curb the increasing road carnages.
The three children died on December 30, 2013 in an accident along Kafue road near Linda turn-off and were buried at Leopards Hill Memorial Park.
Senior Government officials, traditional leaders and opposition political party representatives were among the mourners.