“Go well my girl,” first republican president Kenneth Kaunda said in his farewell message to his wife Mama Betty Kaunda who was also Zambia’s ever first lady after independency in 1964.
Mama Betty Kaunda who was interred at Dr Kaunda’s State Lodge home has been eulogized as a beacon of peace and a woman who contributed measly to the liberation struggle in Zambia and other countries in the region.
Dr Kaunda in his eulogy read on his behalf by a Mr Pius Kasutu said he would not have achieved what he did for the country and himself without the support of Mama Betty Kaunda.
“You were my great companion in the last 66 years of our marriage. I would not have achieved what I did for the country and for myself without your support and participation. Go well my girl,” Dr Kaunda said.
In his tribute, Dr Kaunda said the death of his wife was unexpected because Mama Betty had only travelled to Zimbabwe to visit her daughter in good health.
Dr Kaunda who arrived at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross around 12:00 hours today was looking frail and was ushered inside the church through the back entrance.
Dr Kaunda narrated that his marriage of 66 years was in fact an arranged one as it was his mother who had chosen Mama Betty Kaunda for him in 1946.
Mama Betty Kaunda, 83 died on 19th September 2012 in Zimbabwe.
The requiem mass that took place at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross today was free of violence which characterized the same last week when unruly Patriotic Front (PF) thugs beat up UPND cadres in full view of the police.
This time around, the PF cadres who entered the Cathedral of the Holy Cross grounds dressed in military replica uniforms were kept at bay by the police and could only chant their slogans from far.
And Government has described Mama Betty Kaunda as a humble and selfless person who did not want to be in the glare of publicity after she became the first lady in 1964.
Minister of Finance Alexander Chikwanda who is the acting President said Mama Betty Kaunda inexplicable in her commitment to serving the country and the region as a whole.
Mr Chikwanda said Mama Betty Kaunda has left a legacy of hope, peace and harmony and that other women should learn to emulate such kind of attributes.
Among the people who attended the requiem mass were opposition UPND president Hakainde Hichilema who entered the church under tight security.
Others were former president Rupiah Banda, Vice-President Guy Scott, the wife of former Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere Maria Nyerere and other foreign diginitries as well as cabinet Ministers that included Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM), Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba and Sports Minister Chishimba Kambwili.
Soon after his arrival, police attempted to persuade him to use the back entrance of the church but the UPND leader objected and insisted that he was going to enter the church using the door everyone else was using.