WINDHOEK: President Hifikepunye Pohamba and former President Dr Sam Nujoma have sent messages of condolences to Zambia’s first President Dr Kenneth Kaunda on the death of his wife Mama Betty Kaunda, who died in Harare last week at the age of 83.
The Times of Zambia on Tuesday reported that President Pohamba wrote a letter to Dr Kaunda on 19 September 2012, in which he expressed his condolences.
On its website, the newspaper reported that Pohamba said the people of Namibia and his family have learnt with shock and deep sorrow of the passing away of Madam Betty Kaunda.
“I wish to convey, on behalf of the Government and the people of Namibia, my family and indeed on my own behalf our deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to you, your Excellency, the bereaved family and friends, as well as the people of Zambia on this sad loss,” he said.
He said the sudden departure of the Mama Betty has robbed Dr Kaunda and his family of a beloved companion, a caring mother and grandmother.
President Pohamba said her death equally constituted a great loss to the fraternal people of Zambia and to many friends abroad whom she treated with compassion over the years, including many Namibians who were hosted in Zambia during the liberation struggle years.
Pohamba wished Dr Kaunda strength as he deals with this difficult time of mourning, saying he must find solace in the knowledge that Mama Betty served all of humanity with kindness until her final hour.
Former president Nujoma, in a letter dated 24 September 2012 and sent to Dr Kaunda and his family, described Mama Betty as an affectionate woman who stood behind her husband during the liberation struggle for Africa.
Nujoma said people should emulate Mama Betty’s exemplary deeds in honour of her memory, and her immense contribution towards the total liberation of Africa.
“On behalf of the Nujoma family and on my own behalf, I wish to extend our deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolences to your Excellency, a dear comrade in arms with a friendship cemented in blood and sweat, to the entire bereaved family members and the people of the Republic of Zambia, on such an irreplaceable loss,” he said.
Dr Kaunda was admitted to the University Teaching Hospital on Saturday for an undisclosed ailment, forcing a requiem mass for his late wife to be cancelled and the burial to be postponed. Kaunda’s wife, Betty, died in Zimbabwe where she was visiting her daughter.
Officials said she died in her sleep at the home of daughter Musata Kaunda-Banda in Harare’s Borrowdale Brooke area.
The Zambian Government declared three days of national mourning, and she will be accorded the honour of a state funeral.