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Zambia holds state funeral for Kaunda after court rejects burial site petition

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Zambia

Zambia held a church service on Wednesday as it prepared to bury its founding president Kenneth Kaunda who died last month.

The ceremony at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the capital Lusaka was attended by President Edgar Lungu and former head of state Rupiah Banda.

The high court in Lusaka dismissed a late application filed by the family, challenging Kaunda's burial at a site reserved for former presidents.

"The late Dr. Kenneth Kaunda was not an ordinary person," argued Judge Wilfred Kopa Muma in his ruling.

The family had argued that Kaunda wished to be interred at his private residence.

The hero of the struggle against white rule in southern Africa, who died on June 17 was due to be buried on Wednesday following a state memorial held last week at the city's 60,000-seat National Heroes Stadium.

President Lungu declared April 28 a public holiday in honor of Kaunda, who died at a military hospital in June after being admitted with Pneumonia.

“I, President of the Republic of Zambia now declare April 28, the birthday of Dr. Kenneth Kaunda as a public holiday. One Zambia One Nation,” he said during the funeral service.

Kaunda was born on April 28, 1924.

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