“A Tribute to LEVY”
Written By Peter Madoda Bungane
Citations from: Wikipedia
Times of Zambia
Zambia Daily Mail
Early life and legal career
Late president Dr. Levy Patrick Mwanawasa was born in Mufulira, as the second of 10 children. He held a law degree from the University of Zambia. He worked in private law firms from 1974 until 1978 when he formed his own firm Mwanawasa & Company. In 1985 Mwanawasa served as Solicitor General in the Zambian government but he went back to private practice in 1986.
In 1989, he led the legal defense team for Lt. Gen Christon Tembo, who was accused by the Kenneth Kaunda government of conspiracy to overthrow the government, which was judged as an act of treason worthy of the death penalty; Tembo won the case against the state, and Mwanawasa’s fame among the anti-Kaunda opposition grew. After Dr. Frederick Chiluba was elected as President, he appointed Mwanawasa as Vice-President in December 1991. Mwanawasa left his firm in March 1992.
Doctor Mwanawasa served as Vice-President until he resigned in 1994, citing gross abuse of office and corruption by some leaders and insubordination to him by some colleagues. In 1996 he unsuccessfully contested Dr. Chiluba for the presidency of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy. After the loss, Mwanawasa retired from politics until the 2001 election.
In August 2000, the National Executive Committee of MMD elected Mwanawasa as its presidential candidate for the 2001 election. He won the election, held on 27th December 2001, beating 10 other candidates including two other former vice presidents (Godfrey Miyanda and Gen. Christon Tembo). Anderson Mazoka came in a close second with 27%, according to official results. Mwanawasa took office on 2nd January 2002. However, the results of the elections He was elected as President of the MMD for a five-year term in 2005.
Mwanawasa ran for a second term in the presidential election held on 28 September 2006. His re-election was confirmed on 2nd October 2006. He was sworn in for another term on 3rd October 2006. A few days later, he named a new cabinet and appointed Rupiah Banda as Vice-President. Rupiah Banda is the former Head of State of Zambia, he won an October 30th 2008 presidential by-election.
MINES AND FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT (F.D.I.)
The Konkola Copper Mines, Luanshya Copper Mines, Kansanshi Copper Gold Mines, Mumbwa, Mines exploration in Luapula, Eastern and Western provinces as well Lumwana Mine as some of the foreign direct investments and jobs created from those investments are credited to late president Mwanawasa. In the Zambia Daily Mail Vol. 11 No.71 the headline read “Copper Boom Expected” I quote; Zambia will in the next three years get back to high level production the country enjoyed in the 1970s, president Mwanawasa said. Here Mwanawasa accurately predicted the high copper prices we are now experiencing, and sited major developments such as Kansanshi, Lumwana, the Katima Mulilo Bridge, the Chembe (Levy Mwanawasa Bridge) among others. Most of the foreign direct investment Zambia is enjoying today was secured by the late president as he inspired confidence in the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, the European Union, the United States (where he received his honorary doctorate), the Canadians, the Chinese and Indian investments, regional and local investors shared in his vision to develop Zambia.
CEEC/ YEF- Citizens Economic Empowerment Fund/Youth Empowerment Fund
The late president considered to support Youth Empowerment Fund under the auspices of the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission are the caring and undying love that president Mwanawasa had for the youth of Zambia, he begun a deliberate nation wide large scale drive to empower the prime citizenry the youth who form 68% of the population. Though the CEEC has disbursed over K200billion to date, a lot more is needed to meet the challenges the Zambian youth faces today. Accessibility and eligibility remain hurdles in the empowerment process.
HIPC- Highly Indebted Poor Countries
Late president Mwanawasa led Zambia through the highly controversial but worthwhile HIPC (Highly Indebted Poor Countries) completion point and reduced Zambia’s debt from a swaggering $6.5billion to a $3.8billion almost halved, the controversy earned him criticism due the harsh economic plight of Zambians but eventually won him respect and confidence with the international co-operating partners, Zambia’s debt was cancelled and the future promised economic emancipation for all Zambians. The debt cancellation brought hopes as well as dreams of all Zambians into a clear and determined perspective, he was determined to make each one us, regardless of our ethnicity enjoy the fruit of Zambia, One Zambia One Nation.
NCC- National Constitution Conference
The National Constitution Conference was an unwanted body but it was offered as a cheaper alternative to the tax payer as opposed to a Constituent Assembly and had an original sitting of 87 members but due to various stake holders wanting participation it grew to over 400 delegates, it had a legal mandate by an act of parliament to draft a new constitution which would then be presented to parliament for enactment of the final new constitution, president Mwanawasa had the best of intentions for Mother Zambia. Many misjudged his intentions but were later quoted as having misunderstood Levy. The draft constitution was in the near future never passed in a 2nd reading in the National Assembly and a new constitution was not enacted before the 2011 Tri-parte polls.
CRUSADE ON CORRUPTION
Known in the SADC region for his bold and ambitious stand against corruption, president Mwanawasa detested any form of dishonesty, he did what he felt was the people’s wish in getting the truth, he did not use his powers to interfere in high profile cases and repeatedly asked for suspects accused to return themselves and alleged embezzlements of our wealth back to the treasury. He did not waver and respected the courts of law in Zambia; politicians loved and hated him but only a few of us really “loved Levy”. The Task Force on Corruption which spent several years investigating high profile cases was one that was donor supported and enjoyed the backing of the international community. President Mwanawasa believed in a transparent process and did not interfere in the work of the Task Force on Corruption; this was an example of restraint and humility from a Head of State.
THE RULE OF LAW
In his many deliveries, president Mwanawasa repeated said he would not and did not interfere in any political figure charged with any offence, he remained a true example of respect for the rule of law, and he devoted his stay at State House to the upliftment of all Zambians, by moving the country in the direction of an independent Judiciary. The Ministry of Justice’s capacity to handle legal matters was expanded, the Courts of Law were given face lifts and people began believing in the Justice system. Zambia had begun moving from a totalitarian Justice system to a people driven Justice System. It made us reconsider our priorities and aspirations.
DEATH OF A SON OF AFRICA
Mwanawasa was hospitalized at the Percy Military Hospital, near Paris. On 19th August 2008, a family member who wished to remain anonymous stated that Mwanawasa had died early that morning. The news of president Mwanawasa’s death was confirmed by then President Banda through a television broadcast on the government-owned Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC).He informed the nation that president Mwanawasa had died that morning at 10:30 Zambian time at the Percy Military Hospital in Paris.
The Patriotic Front’s Michael Sata, now Zambia’s Fifth Republican President, expressed sadness and said that president Mwanawasa’s death was a “national disaster”, urging Zambians to remain calm. A strike by doctors was also suspended, and sporting matches were cancelled. Former president Kenneth Kaunda paid tribute to Mwanawasa, saying that he was “a true servant of the people who served this country with dignity and honour. … He observed the rule of law and he gallantly fought graft in all its forms. … We have lost a great leader who had a real vision for leadership and problems that face the country.”
Late president Mwanawasa’s body arrived in Lusaka from France aboard a French military aircraft on 23rd August 2008. It was received with full military honours; former president Banda and former president Kaunda were present for the ceremony, which featured a 21-gun salute and jet fighter planes in the sky. It was then taken to all provincial capitals of Zambia, where members of the public had an opportunity to pay their respects. The body was accompanied by both the opposition and the ruling party leaders beside the first family during the tour.
The burial of Mwanawasa occurred on 3rd September 2008 at Embassy Park opposite the Zambian Cabinet Office. The funeral was attended by heads of 14 African states, including South Africa’s Mbeki, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, and Tanzania’s Jakaya Kikwete. In her eulogy at the funeral, Maureen Mwanawasa said of her husband: “Typical of you, you died on duty. You died a sad man as no one seemed to appreciate your sacrifices. Had you been with us today, I am sure these accolades could have made you happy.”
Doctor Mwanawasa had two children from his first marriage, Patrick Mwanawasa Jr and Miriam he then married Maureen Mwanawasa on September 3rd, 1988 and had four children with her, Chipokota, Matolo, Lubona and Ntembe.Levy and Maureen remained married until his death. In March 2005, Mwanawasa was baptised by Southern Baptist missionaries. In September 2007, Mwanawasa traveled to Arkansas in the United States to give a speech at Harding University in Searcy and received an honorary doctorate from the college. While in Arkansas, he addressed students and press at the University Of Arkansas Clinton School Of Public Service about social, economic, and political development in Zambia and the region with specific attention paid to HIV/AIDS in Africa and President Mugabe of Zimbabwe.
I wish to thank all Zambians and pray that my tribute reminds us of what a selfless leader the late Dr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa SC was, M.H.S.R.I.P. To the Mwanawasa family may God Almighty bless and continue watching over you. Your personal loss has been felt by us all.
Peter Madoda Bungane Esq.