Sanday Chongo Kabange in MUNICH, Germany
The death of Zambia’s ex-president, Fredrick Chiluba, Saturday has sparked a blitz mixed commentary on social networks.
Zambians and social media freaks abroad and in Zambia are reacting with mixed feelings at the death of Chiluba who died after a bitter battle with a heart condition.
Chiluba’s exact cause of death is unknown but it is believed that he died as a result of a prolonged heart problem which saw him in and out of Zambia for medical attention in South Africa.
He dies four years after his successor, Levy Mwanawasa died while in office at a French hospital on August 19, 2008.
Chiluba’s political history had its ups and downs, he was hailed as a liberator and accused of mismanaging the economy to the extent that he was dragged to court on charges of corruptions. The charges were later dropped.
Social media networks leaders; Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Skype have taken the hype of written and visual audio reactions to Chiluba’s death.
Chiluba, 65, was praised by his supporters after he promised to introduce political freedoms and replace first President Kenneth Kaunda’s debt-ridden, centrally planned economy with a free market.
John Mwendaweli of Hannover in Germany said via Skype call that he was shocked and saddened by the death of Chiluba.
“Boi (my friend) have you heard the news from home? kaChiluba nakafwa (Chiluba is dead). I really never liked the man but I am saddened by his death” read a message on skype.
A Zimbabwean journalist, Columbus Mavhunga, that covered Chiluba during his tenure and followed developments from Zambia said in his google talk message, “He will be remembered for ending KK’s reign which might have come as relief to some Zambians and Africans. But history will haunt him for the way he disrespected Zambia’s founding father, President Kaunda. He ended up having an illusion that Zambia was his private company, I was not shocked since that is typical of many African leaders. From democrats to autocrats.”
Lombe Machilika, a radio personality in Zambia posted on her Facebook status, “Another mantle falls once again in Zambia. Let him who understands this take up his position. FJT was no ordinary man and therefore his death means a birth of something new. As the young and responsible people of Zambia we say ‘we will carry this nation forward, your work FJT was not in vain, RIP’.
UK based Zambian painter, Mulenga Mutale tweeted this, “Where is Zambia heading to. It is just too soon to lose another President. RIP FTJ,” promoting a lot of reactions from her followers on Twitter.
In reaction to comments on his post on Facebook, television and radio personality, Golden Mukelabai responded, “According to ZNBC (national broadcaster) He fell ill last evening (Saturday) after complaining of stomach pains after which his personal doctor (Dr Kangwa) was called. His condition worsened around 22hrs.
According to his spokesperson Emmanuel Mwamba his condition continued to worsen and he died five minutes past midnight.
Reports out of Lusaka say radio stations in Zambia were jammed on Saturday with phone –in programmes soliciting for listeners’ reactions on the death of Chiluba.