I am deeply saddened by the passing of the 41st President of the United States of America at the age of 94 years. It was a privilege for me to have developed a close personal relationship with President George Herbert Walker Bush, when we both served our respective countries as Ambassadors to the United Nations in the late 60s and early 70s. It was at the height of the cold war between the East and the West. It was also at the height of the liberation struggle against colonialism and apartheid in Africa. Although we did not always agree on everything, we developed a healthy respect for each other and a deep personal friendship which remained strong right up to his death.
I always admired his dedication to the service of his country and to the world at large. Even after he became President, he remained humaine and always told me that the office President was bigger than him. He regarded politics as a service to his country and people and to the wider humanity. He was humble, gentle , caring and humorous and often cracked jokes at his expense.
When my daughter Namunza passed away, he and his wife Barbara were among the first people to phone me and offer condolences.
When as Foreign Minister of Zambia, i accompanied President Frederick Chiluba on an official visit to the United States of America and went to the White House, he asked President Chiluba if it was alright for him to take a photo with me. “My wife Barbara specifically asked me to take a photo with this man and she will kill me if i don’t “.
I am immensely proud of the work we did together and for the distinguished service he rendered to his country and to humanity. He always said that he wanted to see a kinder gentler world. Even after he retired from public office, he and his wife continued to raise hundreds of millions of US dollars for charity to help the underprivileged. The legacy of this gentle giant will long be remembered.