By VENARCIOUS MWANSA –
CATHOLIC Archbishop Emeritus James Mwewa Spaita has died.
Archbishop Spaita died yesterday in Kasama General Hospital at 15:15 hours after suffering a stroke on Sunday morning. He was 82.
Education Secretary for Kasama Catholic Diocese Father Joachim Kaputula, who confirmed the death of Archbishop Spaita yesterday, said the Catholic cleric was evacuated to Kasama General Hospital the same day he suffered a stroke.
Archbishop Spaita was moved from Chilubula Parish where he was staying after retiring and was taken to Kasama General Hospital where he was immediately admitted to the intensive care unit.
“This morning (Tuesday) he even spoke briefly but shortly after the attack recurred, and that was it,” Fr Kaputula said from Kasama.
Archbishop Spaita was born on April 8, 1934 at Lubwa Mission in Samfya District in Luapula Province.
He went to Lubushi Minor Seminary from where he proceeded to Kachebere Major Seminary in Malawi after which he was ordained priest on September 9, 1962.
Archbishop Spaita was the only black man to ascend to priesthood in the then Northern Rhodesia (today’s Zambia) that year.
He was consecrated bishop of Mansa in 1974, the diocese he presided over until he was appointed archbishop of Kasama on December 3, 1990.
On February 4, 1991, he was enthroned Kasama archbishop, taking over from Archbishop Elias Mutale, who died in a car crash in Lusaka.
Archbishop Spaita retired from active pastoral work on April 30, 2009 at the age of 75 to earn himself the Emeritus title.
It was then that he started staying in Chilubula where he suffered a stroke on Sunday.