President Hakainde Hichilema of Zambia marked the 60th Africa Freedom Day with a grand ceremony held at State House in Lusaka. The event was a momentous occasion to honor and recognize the outstanding contributions, heroics, and distinguished service of various Zambians towards the welfare and progress of the nation.
The highlight of the ceremony was the presentation of awards by President Hichilema, who bestowed honors upon deserving individuals. Among the recipients was Muzala Samukonga, the world’s fastest man in the 400m category, who received the prestigious President’s Insignia for Meritorious Achievements. Samukonga’s remarkable athletic accomplishments have brought pride and recognition to Zambia on the international stage.
The 60th Africa Freedom Day was celebrated under the theme “Acceleration of the African Free Trade Area Implementation,” emphasizing the continent’s commitment to enhancing trade and economic cooperation among African nations.
Prior to the awards ceremony, President Hichilema led dignitaries, members of the diplomatic corps, clergy, and former and current senior government officials in paying tribute at the Freedom Statue. The solemn wreath-laying ceremony was a symbolic gesture to honor the freedom fighters who made sacrifices for Zambia’s independence.
The conferment of awards and honors aligns with Article 92 (g) of the Constitution of Zambia, which recognizes exceptional contributions and meritorious service rendered to the nation.
Notable personalities in attendance included former Vice Presidents Enoch Kavindele and Pastor Nevers Mumba, who graced the event with their presence.
Joseph Banda, a local hero who displayed extraordinary courage by killing a leopard with his bare hands to protect terrified villagers and restore peace, was among those honored at the ceremony. Banda’s fearless act of bravery exemplifies the spirit of Zambians in safeguarding their communities.
Additionally, Judge Florence Mumba, renowned for her high-profile service in the judiciary, the United Nations, and other international organizations, was awarded the esteemed Grand Commander of the Companion Order of Freedom 2nd Division. This recognition highlights Mumba’s significant contributions to the advancement of justice and human rights.
Another distinguished recipient, Esther Mulaisho, was awarded the Grand Commander of the Order of Distinguished Service 1st Division. Mulaisho’s political career began at a young age as she courageously opposed colonial rulers, demonstrating her unwavering commitment to the principles of freedom and equality.
The President’s Medal for Gallantry was presented to Lieutenant Colonel Habasune Fine Mpezele for his instrumental role in eliminating the notorious Mailoni brothers, who terrorized villagers in the Luano valley. Mpezele’s exemplary bravery and commitment to protecting innocent lives have made him a role model for others.
The ceremony also recognized Kabotu Muhongo, who received the President’s Medal for Gallantry for rescuing five Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) members when their boat capsized on Chilubi Island. Muhongo’s selfless act of heroism saved lives and demonstrated the compassion and solidarity that define the Zambian spirit.
In addition to the awards for bravery and heroism, Saviour Konnie was honored for his outstanding contributions to the insurance profession. Konnie’s exemplary career in the insurance industry led to the establishment of the Professional Insurance Company, exemplifying the entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to excellence.