Zambia is mourning the death of a giant pond fish at one of country’s biggest public universities, the Copperbelt University (CBU).

The fish – affectionately known as Mafishi – has been mourned by political adversaries President Edgar Lungu and opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema.

The word Mafishi has been trending on Twitter in Zambia following the fish’s death on Monday night.

The fish lived in the university’s pond and students would pay homage to it before exams for good luck. Other students considered it as a stress reliever.

President Lungu quoted Mahatma Gandhi while mourning the fish, writing that “the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

Mr Hichilema wrote: “We stand with the CBU student community, past and present, over the death of their iconic pet Mafishi.”

The fish was part of the university’s aquaculture initiative and is said to have been in the pond for not less than seven years, according to privately owned Diamond television.

Zambia’s Higher Education Minister Brian Mushimba also mourned the fish:

University students lit candles and marched around the premises on Monday night to mourn Mafishi.

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