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The BBC's Naomi Goldsmith
"The opposition accuse government agents of carrying out his assassination"
 real 56k

Monday, 9 July, 2001, 15:19 GMT 16:19 UK
Zambia funeral disrupts OAU summit
President Frederick Chiluba
President Chiluba has expressed shock at the killing
Thousands of angry Zambian mourners have blocked a main road in the capital, Lusaka, which leads to a conference centre where African heads of state are attending a summit.

Witnesses said that mourners attending the funeral of murdered opposition politician Paul Tembo, held up cars carrying officials to and from the conference centre.

The protesters exchanged angry words with police and refused to disperse.

Some 6,000 people walked with the coffin about 6km to the main Catholic Cathedral chanting for President Frederick Chiluba to resign.

Mr Tembo, a former former aide to the president, was shot dead at his home on Friday, hours before he was due to give evidence in a corruption trial involving three cabinet ministers.

And the timing of the funeral has cast a shadow over the Organisation of African Unity summit.

Mr Tembo defected last month to the opposition Forum for Democracy and Development, which says the killing was politically motivated.

The FDD claim that other leading members of their party are on an assassination hit list in the run up to elections later this year.

The government deny any involvement.

Civil and church groups say that political bloodshed and corruption must end in Zambia.

Muddy waters

Tembo was brutally killed by two gunmen who ordered him to lie down on his bed with his wife before shooting him in the head. That morning he was due in the witness box at a tribunal examining how $500,000 of government funds ended up in the ruling party's coffers.

Tembo had said he would tell a story he knew about only too well in his self-confessed role as the ruling party's so-called "Mr Moneybags".

When he defected to the FDD, Tembo told how he had distributed cash to help ensure a third term of office for President Chiluba - a term which would go against the Zambian constitution.

Mr Chiluba has denied any involvement in the killing of his former aide. He said no government worth its salt would like to be embroiled in such a thing when there was an OAU summit on - it would be "very stupid".

Mr Chiluba has been busy at Lusaka airport welcoming delegates, including former South African President Nelson Mandela.

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25 May 01 | Africa
Zambia's ruling party splits
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