The Democratic Republic of the Congo, DRC, President Felix Tshisekedi has invited, his Zambian counterpart, President Edgar Lungu to attend the funeral procession of his late father, Étienne Tshisekedi, who died two years ago in Brussels, Belgium.
The body of Etienne Tshisekedi arrived in Kinshasa from Brussels last night around 19:00hours local time.
The coffin carrying the body of the former politician, who is described by many Congolese as the father of the nation and a human rights activists, was draped in the national flag of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
His body was received at the Ndjili International Airport in Kinshasa by his son, Felix Tshisekedi, the current President of the DRC.
Other Congolese government officials that were on hand to receive his remains include the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Prime Minister, the
Archbishop of Kinshasa, among others.
The late opposition leader served as prime minister during Mobutu SeseSeko’s administration on three occasions.
He will be put to rest on Saturday, June 1st, 2019, at N’sele burial place, which is 30 kilometres away from Kinshasa city.
President Lungu is expected to be accompanied by both his political advisor Kaizer Zulu and Press Aide Amos Chanda.
The President’s invitation is an opening avenue for Zambia’s interests in the DRC in the area of increasing economic ties that exist between the two sister countries.
The development is a further demonstration of continued historic ties that Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly Zaire, have benefited from each other from time immemorial.
Among them is the Solwezi/Kolwezi road, which is lies between North-western and Lualaba provinces in Zambia and the DRC respectively.
The road is famous for its mining activities between the two towns and will be a shorter route from Zambia to the DRC once complete.
The other benefit for the Solwezi/Kolwezi road is that it will help decongest the Kasumbalesa one stop border post between the two countries.
And one of the Congolese tour operator, John Katumba, disclosed in an interview that he holds great respect for President Edgar Lungu.
Mr Katumba, added that President Lungu’s attendance at the funeral demonstrates the respect he accords the people of the DRC as Africans.
“We Congolese people are carrying; It is very good symbol for the future of the relationship between the two countries-Zambia/DRC, he narrates.
Today, the body is expected to lie in State at the Martyrs Stadium in Kinshasa where the people of the DRC including Tshisekedi’s family and the invited Heads of State will pay their last respects.
In July, 2016, the veteran politician returned to the DRC after medical treatment away from home.
Unfortunately, his body could not be brought back to his home country pending political tensions with the former President Joseph Kabila’s regime.
A critic of former President Mobutu Sese Seko, Etienne Tshisekedi was co-founder of a political party called Union for Democracy and Social Progress.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is the largest country in Sub-Saharan Africa and the second largest country in Africa.