IN Lusaka’s Woodlands area, one can find Zambia’s largest Military hospital Maina Soko. The military hospital, which was named after a Zambian woman called Maina Soko.

Maina Soko Military Hospital was initially a maternity annex for the University Teaching Hospital (UTH), built in the 1960s. Then in 1979, it was converted into a military hospital to take care of military casualties of the liberation war.

Maina Soko was shot and killed on a canoe while on the Zambezi River at the height of the liberation struggle by Rhodesian commandos known as Selous Scouts (the Secret Assassination Organ of the Ian Smith regime). The canoe was paddled by a male.The male she was with was unhurt and he paddled on until they reached Chirundu.

President Kaunda is said to have sent a plane to fetch her body. Maina Soko is buried at Chingwere cemetery in Lusaka. At the time of her death Maina Soko was aged 67.

A major road in the city of Ndola, a road in Livingstone and Chipata and a council ward in Mufulira are also named after her.

There have been allegations that Maina Soko was involved in covert military activities and hence she become a target for the Selous Scouts. Maina Soko’s story has so many grey areas. What remains are questions about her true identity and the role she played in the liberation struggle as not much written about her. The Zambia Army has patented the name “Maina Soko”.

( An article by Jack Zimba for the Zambia Daily Mail)


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