PRESIDENT Michael Sata has learnt with profound sorrow the passing away of Roman Catholic Church Cardinal Medardo Mazombwe.
He described the late Cardinal as a courageous and enthusiastic cleric, who was instrumental in the crusade to cancel Zambia’s international debt the Jubilee 2000 movement.
Cardinal Mazombwe, 82, died at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka on Thursday this week.
Mr Sata in a statement issued by his Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations, George Chellah described the death as a huge blow to the country and the Church.
The cleric was the Archbishop Emeritus of Lusaka Archdiocese and Zambia’s first indigenous Cardinal,
“I wish to express my deepest sympathy to the entire Catholic Archdiocese of Lusaka, the Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC), his family and all those who knew and venerated His Eminence Medardo Cardinal Joseph Mazombwe both home and abroad.
“I recall the late Cardinal as a courageous and enthusiastic revered cleric for many years, in particular as a young priest in the 1960s, as Bishop of Chipata Diocese in the 1970s and finally as the Archbishop of Lusaka until his retirement in 2006,” he said.
The Head of State said the late Cardinal’s passion and commitment to the nation and the poor was equally worthy of praise.
“In the months leading to the year 2000, Cardinal Mazombwe, as Archbishop of Lusaka then, was a fiery crusader for the cancellation of Zambia’s international debt, in the Jubilee 2000 movement,” he said.
The Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) has joined the nation in mourning the Cardinal Medardo Joseph Mazombwe.
CCZ chairperson Alfred Kalembo said he was saddened by the development and expressed heartfelt sympathy over the loss of a great man of God who positively contributed to the nation.
He said the departed Cardinal would be celebrated as a brave campaigner as he advocated for debt cancellation.
The Independent Churches of Zambia (ICOZ) has said it received the news of the demise of Cardinal Mazombwe with a deep sense of grief.
ICOZ chairperson David Masupa expressed heartfelt condolences in a statement in Lusaka to the Mazombwe family, the Vatican, ZEC and the entire Catholic Church.
Cardinal Mazombwe held several senior positions in the local and regional Church, such as ZEC president (1972 – 1975, 1988 – 1990 and 1999 – 2002), and as chairperson of the regional conferences of the
Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (A.M.E.C.E.A.) (1979 – 1986).