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Mwanamwambwa a statesman, a champion of democracy, reservoir of immense wealth, by Edgar Chibuta


The death of Amusa Mwanamwambwa is a national tragedy as Zambia celebrate its 59th year of independence from the colonial British rule.

His death was also great tragedy in the sense that the nation had lost a statesman, a champion of democracy and a reservoir of immense wealth of knowledge and skills.

Having relinquished his Member of Parliamentary seat in 1998 and later elected as the Speaker of the National Assembly in that year, Mwanamwambwa discharged his nation duties with utmost hope and excellency up to 2011.

Read more: Ex-Speaker of national assembly, Mwanamwambwa, dies. 10 things you might not know about him

The ever thoughtful and professional Journalist, cum politician, shall forever remain a reference point to the discipline of leadership in the civil service mainstream in Zambia.

This article shall therefore focus on the leadership traits, exhibited by this great son of the soil, and which needed to be emulated by those in the civil service where he served with diligence till he retired in 2011.

I was in the ninth grade at Mufulira Secondary School when the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) was ushered into power and in that year, I remember that the late Mwanamwambwa was part of the group that ousted the United National Independence Party (UNIP) from power thus ending their 27-year reign.

It was a mark of self-denial to belong to the MMD prior to 1991 and the man did not disappoint the Zambians.

His name shall therefore be printed on the Zambian political and democratic epitaph that he contributed to the growth of Zambia’s economic and political development.

He was a statesman who never allowed the skills and competences attained in the Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, as well as a Diploma in Journalism, get wasted as may have been with some intellectuals who refused to voice out their concerns when the democratic principles in Zambia were nosediving under UNIP rule.

Mwanamwambwa was therefore a point of reference in leadership as a whole and a towering political and administrative giant to the civil service of today.

It was said that a life well lived was that one truly and vigorously devoted in the service others and the case of this great son of the soil goes beyond that adage.

As earlier noted, Mwanamwambwa’s life impact positively on all those holding leadership positions and as noted by Bodla M et al (2002), the thematic area of leadership is a topic of vast appeal to which each and every person may find himself or herself discharging.

Leadership was all about influencing others with the view of attaining set targets for the benefit of the organization.

Mwanamwambwa did not disappoint in that direction and as noted by another statesman, by the name of Vernon J Mwanga, the former Member of Parliament (MP) for Roan in Luanshya, the man was a thoughtful and well-grounded character who ruled the Zambian Parliamentary system at that crucial time when a number of legal ideas and principles were coined in and assimilated in the Zambian legal system.

On June 25, 2011, when he retired as the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Lusaka Times reported how the House was gripped with emotional speeches by the Members of Parliaments (MPs) then.

The man had seen it all and contributed to the promotion of the rule of law and democracy to the Zambia democratic space, however it was his wealth of knowledge and skills to preside over the affairs of the MPs that blows my mind in awe.

Being the speaker of the National Assembly required a person who was widely and wildly read, as the case is with all the past and present Speakers of the Zambian National Assembly, and the late grand master did not disappoint the masses in that direction.

He had the acumen and drive to control the decorum proceedings in the house and thus contributed to the promotion of democracy in the Zambian political and administrative space.

One interesting thing about the civil service is the fact that the influence, it be negative or positive, that one exerts on others has a resultant effect during and after one’s civil service tenure of service.

Today we enjoy Parliamentary sessions without noting and appreciating that this great son of the soil, on July 1, 2014 in Lusaka, presented a paper entitled “Developing effective ways of dealing with the media to ensure strong advocacy and coverage of Parliament” and this was at the time when his tenure as Speaker of the National Assembly had expired.

He was a Zambia patriot and statesman who felt duty bound to float his ideas and thus add value to the credibility of the media in Zambia as far as Parliamentary media coverage is concerned.

We have today a very formidable media department at National Assembly all because of the strides and contribution of this multi skilled politician and administrator who had breathed his last and left an indelible mark on the Zambia political space.

This was a sheer lesson to the civil servants that when called for duty, with or without allowances, snow or rain, in retirement or not, we must be at hand to contribute to the development of this great nation as Mwanamwambwa did.

I therefore write this article with a very heavy heart as the nation struggles to carry the burden of having lost a tall and self-sacrificing figure in the Zambia media and political landscape.

Ode to you Mwanamwambwa and thanks for the contribution to this great nation.

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