Monthly Archives: February 2013

Sata’s Bloated Government

The source of this information is the Zambian Watchdog at

President Michael Sata has created the biggest cabinet list in the history of this country. Each of these people gets a salary, allowances, has a driver, free fuel, talk-time, a house servant and other incentives. The total sum of their monthly expenditure from government treasury can surely be equivalent to paying 50,000 Zambians with decent salaries. This list is as of 22 February 2013 and does not include permanent secretaries and other senior officials doing duplicated jobs but enjoying hefty incentives.

President – Mr. Michael Sata
Vice President – Dr. Guy Scott

Cabinet Ministers (20)

Minister of Agriculture and Livestock – Mr. Robert Sichinga
Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs- Professor Nkandu Luo
Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry – Mr. Emmanuel Chenda
Minister of Community Development, Mother and Child Health – Dr. Katema
Minister of Defence – Mr. Geoffery Mwamba
Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education – Dr. John Phiri
Minister of Finance – Mr. Alexander Bwalya Chikwanda
Minister of Foreign Affairs – Dr. Lungu
Minister of Gender and Child Development – Mrs. Inonge Wina
Minister of Health – Dr. Kasonde
Minister of Home Affairs and Deputy Chief Whip Mr. E.C. Lungu
Minister of Information and Broadcasting – Mr. Sakeni
Minister of Justice – Mr. Winter Kabimba
Minister of Labour and Social Security – Mr. Fackson Shamenda
Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection – Mr. Wilbur Simuusa
Minister of Local Government and Housing – Mrs Emmerine Kabanshi
Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development and Chief Whip Mr. Yamfwa Mukanga
Minister of Tourism and Arts – Mrs Silyvia Masebo
Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication – Mr. Yaluma
Minister of Youth and Sport – Mr. Chishimba Kambwili

Deputy Minister (37)

Deputy Minister in the Vice President’s Office – Mr. Harry Kalaba
Deputy Minister in the Vice President’s Office – Mr. Mwango
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Livestock – Mr. Greyford Monde
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Livestock – Mr. Mwewa
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Livestock – Mr. Kazubu
Deputy Minister of Chiefs Affairs – Mrs Kawandami
Deputy Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry – Mr. Richard Taima
Deputy Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry – Mr. Keith Mukata
Deputy Minister of Community Development, Mother and Child Health – Ms. Kazunga
Deputy Minister of Community Development, Mother and Child Health – Ms. Kapata
Deputy Minister of Defence – Mr. Mwila
Deputy Minister of Defence – Col. J. Lungu
Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education – Professor Willombe
Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education – Mr. Mabumba
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs – Vacant
Deputy Minister of Gender and Child Development – Mrs Banda
Deputy Minister of Finance – Mr. Miles Sampa
Deputy Minister of Health – Dr. Chikusu
Deputy Minister of Health – Mr. C. Mulenga
Deputy Minister of Home Affairs – Mrs Mwamba
Deputy Minister of Home Affairs – Mr. Kampyongo
Deputy Minister of Home Affairs – Mr. Chilangwa
Deputy Minister of Information and Broadcasting – Mr. Kapeya
Deputy Minister of Justice – Dr. Simbyakula
Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Security – Mr. Mbulu
Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Security – Mr. Chitotela
Deputy Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection – Mr. Chingimbu
Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing – Mr. Tembo
Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing – Mr. Kufuna
Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing – Mr. N. Banda
Deputy Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development – Mr. Musukwa
Deputy Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development – Mr. C.S. Zulu
Deputy Minister of Tourism and Arts – Mr. D. Phiri
Deputy Minister of Tourism and Arts – Mr. P. Ngoma
Deputy Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication – Dr. Mwali
Deputy Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication – Col. Kaunda
Deputy Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication –Mr. Mwimba H. Malama
Deputy Minister of Youth and Sport – Mr. Masumba

Deputy Ministers for Provinces (10)

Central Province – Kosamu
Copperbelt Province – Mr. Mwenya
Eastern Province – Mr. Sichone
Luapula Province – Brigadier General Kapaya
Lusaka Province – Mr. Sikazwe
Muchinga Province – Mr. C. Banda
Northern Province – Col Chanda
North-Western Province – Mr. Mubukwanu
Southern Province – Ms. Limata
Western Province – Mr. Mwaliteta

The Chola Boys: Zambia’s Vice-Presidents From Reuben Kamanga to Guy Lindsay Scott

By E. Munshya Wa Munshya

Reuben Kamanga, Zambia's Vice-President from 1964 to 1967

Vice-President Reuben Kamanga

Zambia’s presidency and presidents have dominated much of post-colonial analysis of politics and history. This is very well understood, considering the power that the presidency wields and the central role that it plays in the political and economic life of the nation. As such, political leadership in Zambia has been discussed from the ambit of its presidents and the times they lived and ruled. As such we categorise Zambian political history in terms of the Kaunda Era, the Chiluba Era, the Mwanawasa Era, the Banda Era and very soon, it will be the Sata Era. One of the areas of political analysis I think that we have neglected is to look at the republican vice-presidents, and appreciate the lessons they teach us about politics and leadership. This article therefore seeks to look at the vice-presidency, and indeed specifically the vice presidents that Zambia has had since 1964. The vice-presidents and the times they served provide for us perhaps the greatest insight into politics and the nature and character of the presidents they served. From looking at the people who served in that office, we can come up with general rules or principles that we can extrapolate to either predict future political trends or indeed get some lessons that can help move our nation forward.

Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe

Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe

The first element of analysis shall be the gender composition of the vice-presidents. It is indeed quite telling and revealing that none of the vice-presidents since independence is a woman. In terms of our country, it is not enough that we have had an all-male contingent of presidents, but to think that even their deputies were all-male does tell us a despicable story of our gender imbalance. We’ve only had names such as Reuben, Simon, Mainza, Alexander, Enoch, Augustine, Godfrey, Christon, George and Guy for Government House. In spite of the fact that women make up 51% of Zambia’s population and are still the biggest demographic of voters, it is quite unfair that Zambia has had no woman president, worse still that Zambia has had no woman vice-president. This gender imbalance in my opinion could explain why we are faced with all this economic and political turmoil—we have given women very little opportunity to rise to the top, or even to the second topmost. Women are not just good for dancing at the airport, but rather they are equal partners in development. As such, we could safely conclude that Kaunda, Chiluba, Mwanawasa, Banda and Sata have all shown us lamentably that they are all male chauvinists for failing to use their prerogative to give the vice-presidency to a woman! I think we must do better and if we are to be a truly balanced nation it may be time to give the womenfolk a chance. As such, the time may be ripe for names such as Inonge, Edith, Maureen, or even Judith to rule. If they cannot yet have a shot at State House, we can at least give them the opportunity to have the shot at Government House.

The second element has got to do with modalities by which these vice-presidents are chosen. As a rule, it looks like most of the vice-presidents were never chosen from very politically popular candidates. They were mostly chosen from among the most politically unpopular cadres. It remains for another time to explore why this is so. Suffice here to mention, however, that the most unsuccessful vice-presidents have been those that garnered a lot of political support while in office or those that went to the position of vice-president with a huge political base. When Kaunda appointed Reuben Kamanga as vice-president in 1964, it was widely held that KK so chose Reuben for his lack of popularity and political base than for any other reason. This is the reason why, even today, Reuben is not considered a political hero of Zambia’s independence. Zambians can easily recall Kapwepwe than their first-ever Vice-president Reuben Kamanga. Kaunda could not have chosen a powerful candidate for vice-president.

Nevers Mumba and Rupiah Banda

Nevers Mumba and Rupiah Banda

In 1967, when the Bemba-Tonga alliance in UNIP beat the Nyanja-Lozi alliance at the first post-independence UNIP conference, Kaunda was left with no choice but to drop Kamanga as republican vice-president and appoint Kapwepwe instead. But Kapwepwe did not last very long in that position. He was too powerful and too politically popular to be a vice-president. He had to be forced to resign. In 1991, when Mwanawasa, a man of great influence within the MMD became the republican vice-president, he too like Kapwepwe, could not successfully discharge the duties of his office. He had to resign simply because the MMD government and President Chiluba could not handle a powerful and influential vice-president. Unfortunately, the same reasons why Mwanawasa resigned as Vice-President resurfaced when he was now in power. He appointed Nevers Mumba, a man who had no strong political base. Of course Mumba was going to be a good vice-president as long as he played it small and unpopular. But that was not to be for an American trained tele-evangelist. He became a little bit more larger than life. While in office, he developed a huge constituency, and rose in popularity. Perhaps as a mix of both chance and opportunity Nevers Mumba was beginning to eclipse his boss—a bad omen for a vice-president. Zambian presidents generally have a dislike for a very powerful vice-president. It was not very long after Nevers had addressed a press conference, while Mwanawasa was away, that he was fired from his position. A vice-president must be dismal!

Augustine Festus Lupando Mwape Katoloshi

Augustine Festus Lupando Mwape Katoloshi

It still remains to be studied why Mwanawasa, left all the popular cadres within his party and chose to cross party lines and appoint, Nevers Mumba, and repeat the same feat later by appointing Rupiah Banda for Veep. But Mwanawasa’s eccentrics did not end there; after he had fired Mumba he then went for Augustine Festus Lupando Mwape Katoloshi, to be his vice-president. Not only was Mwape lacking a political base, but he was also not even a member of cabinet. He had in fact been fired by Mwanawasa just a few months earlier, only to be reinstated as a junior minister responsible for Northern Province. Mwape’s political unpopularity was proved later by his failure to retain his parliamentary seat in the 2006 elections. It is unpopular candidates who seemed to make very good vice-presidents in Mwanawasa’s regime. But this does not just apply to Mwanawasa it is also true for Kaunda, Chiluba, and even Banda.

The Banda affair is even more telling, when Mwape lost his parliamentary seat in 2006, Mwanawasa went to a farm in Chipata district and fished out a retired politician-turned-farmer, perhaps two decades his senior, to come and serve as vice-president. According to Mwanawasa’s calculation, good vice-presidents should be taken from the bush and not from the bloom of urban political life. For his part, when he started to rule, Banda did not look to popular candidates within the MMD for a vice-president. He instead looked to George Kunda, a political novice to become a vice-president. He had in choosing Kunda by-passed the more politically astute and popular cadres such as Mumba, Magande, Mpombo, and even Kalumba. President Michael Sata’s choice of vice-president has been an interesting phenomenon. With lots of hope about Zambia having a whiteman for a vice-president, President Sata has consistently sidelined Guy Scott to the extent that to date Guy Scott has never acted as president in the absence of his boss.

The third element concerns, constitutional roles that vice-presidents have fulfilled in the course of Zambian history. As least three vice-presidents were lawyers by profession. These are Chona, Mwanawasa and Kunda. All of these three served at a time that the republican constitution was being reviewed. Of the three however, Mainza Chona has perhaps played the most visible role of all vice-presidents in pushing through dramatic changes to the constitution of the Republic. The famous Chona Commission was responsible for the implementation of the one party state. It is rather ironic that Kaunda appointed his Vice-President to be chairman of a constitution review commission instituted under the National Inquiries Act. President Rupiah Banda also relied on his Vice-president George Kunda to push through constitutional reforms. But whereas Chona had succeded as Kaunda’s cholaboy earlier, George failed to deliver for Banda. George Kunda’s efforts suffered embarrassing defeat at the hand of an uncompromising legislature.

Fourthly, I should now comment on general observations about Zambia’s vice-presidents. They tell us quite a bit more about the characters of the bosses they served. The most unstable and unpredictable of all these bosses was Mwanawasa who had four vice-presidents in the seven years of office. That is to say he had a different vice-president every one and half years on average. Mwanawasa’s most intriguing moments with his vice-presidents concerns how he fired his first two, Kavindele and Mumba. Kavindele was let go at the same time that Mwanawasa was intensifying his fight against Chiluba’s corruption. It remains to be seen whether Kavindele was fired for anything to do with Chiluba. As for Mumba, he was fired for simply showing independence, ingenuity, and political astuteness. When Sata advised Mumba to relax and simply enjoy tea at Cabinet Office, Mumba vehemently refused and instead worked even harder for the good of the government. As a political novice, Nevers Mumba needed to understand that a Veep should only jump as high as the president says jump. You jump higher than you were told to; some close confidantes of the president will be there to report you. As such, Sata was quite prophetic; it was Mumba’s vice-presidential hard work that landed him into trouble. A vice-president should just be drinking tea and waiting for the president to say, “Help me here.” That is exactly what one Augustine did and he was dearly loved by Mwanawasa for it. When Guy Scott said he was just a chola boy to President Sata – he really meant it. A Vice-president should never grow brains.

When making the choice of Vice-president, presidents must take into consideration serious ethnic calculus. Kaunda lacked this calculus in the first few years after independence in his choice of both Kamanga and Kapwepwe. Kaunda’s tribe or ethnicity was not easy to categorise at independence. This worked both ways—positively and negatively. On the positive side, he was taken as a neutral arbiter between tribal tensions; on the negative side his choice of political friends would attract accusations of siding with one side of his heritage over the other. As such when he chose Kamanga as the first Veep, the Bemba-speaking faction lamented that he had brought his Malawian brothers to top positions in the nation. However, when he reluctantly appointed Kapwepwe to the vice-presidency, after the 1967 UNIP conference similar accusations surfaced, two Bembas could not possibly hold two top positions in the country. He had to accept Kapwepwe’s resignation and appointed Mainza Chona, a Tonga, as his replacement.

After Mainza Chona, Kaunda continued to emphasize his Bemba heritage and completely sidelined any other Bemba to any top position in the Second Republic. He then concentrated on having other tribes share the national cake. After 1973, the position of Vice-president was abolished and the functions of the office were split between the Secretary General of the Party and the Prime Minister. The Secretary General functioned more like a first-vice president, while the Prime Minister was more like a second-vice president. The Prime Ministerial positions were the preserve of either a Lozi or Tonga speaking citizens. The position of Secretary General went to Mainza Chona at the inauguration of the Second Republic and Alexander Grey Zulu took over the position for much of the Second Republic. Grey Zulu was Kaunda’s deputy and a de-facto vice president and natural successor to Kaunda. Zulu was the best candidate for a de-facto number two since he lacked political clout to develop a political following of his own. It is men like Grey Zulu who make good vice-presidents. And fortunate enough this rule has been proven true in the more democratic Third Republic.

Another matter of particular interest with the vice-presidents is their provinces of origin. Chinsali District has the honor of being home to two vice-presidents in the history of Zambia. Interestingly, of all 72 Districts in Zambia, Chinsali has produced more top two leaders per capita than any other district in Zambia. It is from Chinsali where both Kaunda and Kapwepwe hailed from. And in the Third Republic, Mwanawasa looked to Chinsali when he had the second shot at choosing a Veep. Of all the nine provinces, only Luapula and Lusaka Provinces are yet to produce a vice-president. Northern Province has had three, Kapwepwe, Mumba and Mwape. Central Province has had Mwanawasa, and George Kunda. If we consider Prime Ministers in the Second Republic to have been vice-presidents (in their own rights) then we could say that in Mundia, Lisulo, and Masheke Western Province has had its representatives. Mainza Chona and Musokotwane are among the most eminent representatives of Southern Province. Copperbelt produced Mwanawasa who had both Lamba and Lenje heritage. Northwestern Province’s Kavindele has served the country very well too. Eastern Province has had Kamanga, Banda, Tembo, Miyanda and Grey Zulu. There should be something about the people of the East that should explain why they have had more vice-presidents than any other province in Zambia. However, I leave that to others to explain why this is so.

Guy Scott

Guy Scott

Guy Lindsay Scott becomes the first white Zambian to be vice-president. However, the fact that President Sata has sidelined him many times is quite significant. President Sata has erroneously interpreted the constitution to mean that a person like Guy Scott cannot act as president when Sata is not in the country. This interpretation of the constitution is definitely shocking and the Law Association of Zambia have expressed their concern at President Sata’s interpretation.

In terms of professions, the vice-presidents have been very diverse. Both Miyanda and Christon Tembo were soldiers. Prime Minister Malimba Masheke was also a career soldier. It is said that Augustine Festus Lupando Mwape Katoloshi served in the Air Force as well. I have already mentioned that three vice-presidents where lawyers—Chona, Mwanawasa, and Kunda. Prime Minister Daniel Lisulo practiced law as well. One preacher, Nevers Mumba is among this rank. Kavindele leads the vice-presidents as the wealthiest of them all—his wealth surpasses the wealth that all of the vice-presidents have had combined. Guy Scott holds a doctorate degree in agricultural economics. He is perhaps the most educated of all vice-presidents.

No doubt that without their deputies, Zambian Presidents could not have discharged the functions of their offices effectively. Of all the presidents of Zambia, Levy Patrick Mwanawasa is the one who delegated the affairs of state to his vice-presidents the most. Vice-President Lupando Mwape is one who received the most of all these delegations. At one time when the estimates of the expenditure of his office were announced Mwape’s office had in one year spent more money than the office of president Mwanawasa. Cabinet office was quick to run to Mwape’s defence by explaining that they had not expected Mwanawasa to delegate so much state responsibilities to his vice-president. Of all the vice-presidents only Guy Scott has never acted as president. He has never been left with instruments of power. Each time President Sata leaves Zambia, he prefers to leave instruments of power with his relative Alexander Chikwanda.

In terms of the law of retirement, the Zambian law only singles out Zambian presidents for a special retirement package which includes a 100% gratuity, an executive mansion, a string of luxury cars, security, a cadre of staff and seventy-five percent of the incumbent’s salary. As for the vice-presidents there is nothing special—no special gratuity and no executive mansions. This is unfair especially for people like Lupando Mwape who were de-facto Heads of State at a time when Mwanawasa was barely functional.

As we honor the office of President, it may be time for Zambia to equally honor the men these presidents hired and fired to be their number two! As for Guy Scott, we would really love to see him exercise powers of an acting president one day. There is definitely no constitutional impediment to that.

Note: This article first appeared on Munshya wa Munshya’s blog in 2010. It has been modified and updated to include developments since then.

Besa Nabakolwa: Dora Siliya, Mulemena Boys & Politics of Sex & Gender Imbalance

 By E. Munshya wa Munshya

In the song “Umuti wa Bufyashi”, the late Zambian music maestro Emmanuel Mulemena and his Mulemena Boys penned a song that was ahead of its time. In the song, a young couple could not have children. Typical of Zambian tradition, the blame fell on the woman. And so she went to both Chiwempala and Mikomfwa searching for help from witchdoctors. The witchdoctors prescribed herbs, a Whiteman’s teeth and the heart of an ant.

After another infertile year, the man contemplated divorcing the woman in consistency with prevailing culture that blames women for infertility. But the woman persuaded the man to try Western Medicine. The medical doctor, at the hospital, examined the woman and gave his verdict.

“Lady your fertility is alright.”

“The only probable cause why you cannot have babies”, the doctor continued, “is because your husband comes home so drunk that he cannot perform.”

What the doctor means in this song is left to our imagination. However, it attempts to change the debate from condemnation of women to letting society see that marriage problems are not the preserve of women alone. They could be caused by a man’s careless habits. 

From birth, to puberty and onto marriage our girls are taught to be good servants. They are expected to look after their husbands. They must cook for them, wash for them and please them in bed. Women must also produce kids for the man. All these are indeed commendable traditional values and I would do everything to preserve them. But here comes the trick, these expectations are not pushed onto the man as it is on the woman. It is almost a given that a man has the license to behave in any way he wants. And in the context of a home, a man can misbehave and the woman should preserve the family by keeping quiet about whatsoever is going on. She must keep a “Donchi Kubeba” doctrine. This doctrine is not new with Guy Scott; it has been around for years embedded within our customs and culture. A woman is not expected to speak openly about issues. She is also not expected to be ambitious or to aspire to anything, or if she does, she must do it on the terms that society’s men dictate.

When Mama Kankasa rose up to be a firebrand within Kaunda’s inner circle rumours circulated about her private life. Undeterred she remained steadfast and became an exemplary public servant. Some women in Chiluba’s government also faced similar challenges. Each time they showed ambition they were given all sorts of names. Those who were single faced the questions of why they remained single. Those who became more ingenious like Edith Nawakwi faced insults of being promiscuous. Those who were divorced became subjects of ridicule. And yet the same treatment was not accorded to their male counterparts.

At the time that Minister of Finance Nawakwi was being called all sorts of names for her relationship with Hambulo nothing was being said of her counterpart Hon Michael Sata who was allegedly running three families with three different women (a teacher, a doctor and according to Chiluba, a banker in Ndola). It seems it was alright for the man but not for the woman. When in the Mwanawasa government, Maureen showed some ambition opposition leader Michael Sata  told her to shut up. He also accused her of being an “untaught” Lenje woman. Sylvia Masebo came to Maureen’s defense and told off Sata. But Sata repeated the same sentiments on Masebo. The Bantu Botatwe traditionalists were infuriated by these attacks on their women, but Sata would not apologize.

In the Banda administration, one woman has perhaps received more insults than any other woman politician has ever faced. Dora Siliya was a popular broadcaster. That she is ambitious is an understatement. She got married almost a dozen years ago to a dream man. Her marriage to a famous business man was a marriage made in heaven-until at least they started facing problems. They divorced and Siliya continued with her political ambitions. She lost her first attempt at politics by losing badly in Petauke in 2001.

Since her divorce almost a decade ago, some sections within Zambian society have heaped blame on her for her failed marriage. People questioned her and doubted her political skills having been a divorcee. She was daily faced with the challenge of having to explain her failure in marriage and the fact that she did not have any kids with her ex. Society had judged her more strictly than countless of her male colleagues. Somehow in keeping with “Umuti wa Bufyashi” she was blamed for the problems in the marriage. She was a failure in marriage and consequently should be a political failure too. 

For ten years she went on pursuing her political ambitions. Rising up to be a Cabinet Minister and close confidante of President Rupiah Banda. Her ambitions were clear for all to see. Once she resigned her position only to be reinstated when Judge Musonda set aside the Ministerial Tribunal’s ruling that she had breached the Zambian constitution. She went on to become an influential member of the ruling party. But the questions of her marriage still haunted her, years after she had long left the marriage.

For ten years she did it the way taught women are supposed to handle problems, “Donchi Kubeba” and suffer alone in your heart. According to tradition she was supposed to accept the blame and continue shouldering insults. She was supposed to continue with the doctrine that blames women for infertility, infidelity and failed marriages. She was not supposed to have an opinion. She was supposed to do a “Donchi Kubeba.” 

But some time during the parliamentary campaigns in Petakue in 2011 she snapped. She could not bear the blame anymore. After ten years of silence she had to say her opinion. She had to break the taboo of silence. And yes, in a typical Nsenga style, she spoke some embarrassing stuff for any man. And I do not in any way seek to justify what she said. My objective here is to at least recognise that she gave her side of the story. She at least managed to paint the picture that she should not be the only one to blame of not having a kid with her ex-husband and for not keeping the marriage. The man in the marriage had the same responsibility which in her opinion he failed because he used to come to bed wearing a Bombasa.

Having faced public humiliation for her private family failures, Dora decided to confront the issue publicly and show that she is not the only one to blame. It was her decision how she handles the issue. Dora’s rants challenge a Zambian man to step up. A Zambian man must stop the blame game and must stop going to bed wearing Bombasa. A Zambian man must stop going to bed drunk with Kachasu and Tujilijili since there is a real person waiting for him on the other side of the bedroom. The antediluvian “Donchi Kubeba” traditional doctrine that bought the silence of women is becoming obsolete currency. And women’s political libido should be judged on equal footing as that of their male counterparts. A society that judges our women more harshly is inconsistent with a Christian nation. 

Faced with a society whose tradition condemned women’s adulteries as it condoned the men’s infidelities, Jesus told the woman brought to be stoned for adultery, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” But in that case, as it is in the case of Zambian politics, the men are given passes while women are brought to be hanged. 

Not anymore, says Dora and the Mulemena Boys. And on that point I agree with them!

A Short Man Who Walked Tall: The Life and Times of Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba (1943—2011)

By E. Munshya wa Munshya


Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba


The Birth of The Man

Biographers differ about where and when Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba was born. Even his names have raised controversy. Chiluba’s background had been such a thorny issue, that in the 1996 case of Lewanika and others v. Frederick Chiluba the Supreme Court of Zambia was invited to make a ruling on who was Chiluba’s father and where Chiluba himself was born. Before the court were three possible fathers: a Mr. Chabala Kafupi (a Zambian who claimed Congolese descent), a Mr Zahare (a Mozambican), or a Mr. Chiluba Nkonde (from Kawambwa) whom President Frederick Chiluba himself statutorily declared to have been his father.

As for his place of birth, the court heard several conflicting accounts. According to Dr. John Mwanakatwe, Chiluba was born at Musangu Village in Luapula Province. Another account declared that he was born at Wusakili in Kitwe. Some petitioners in the case of Lewanika and Others even claimed that Frederick Chiluba may have been born at Chibambo CMML Mission Hospital in what was then the Belgian Congo. When called to testify about Chiluba’s background in the same court case, William Takere Banda told the court that Frederick Chiluba who was then known as simply Titus Mpundu lived in Mufulira and spoke a Congolese dialect of Lingala.

The court dismissed William Banda’s testimony and ruled in this case that regardless of who was Chiluba’s father, or where he was born, Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba was still a legitimate Head of State and was a citizen of the Republic of Zambia.

This background is necessary in this article to point out how, a man without a clear family history rose up to become President of the Republic of Zambia. And in mourning him, we should all remember, that there are some qualities that made him stand out and made him gain the confidence of the Zambian people to elect him to the presidency in 1991. If there is anything that the life of Frederick Chiluba should teach us is the fact that regardless of our background and our limitations, destiny does not delude those who work hard. The story of FJT Chiluba is a story of how a man in our time lived to overcome his limitations and soared to lead the nation from dictatorship to a democracy.

Clearly as shown above, Chiluba had no rich family history. In death, his father still remains as mysterious as when he was alive. His place of birth is still subject to speculation. The fact that as a young boy he was expelled from a Kawambwa School also shows the kind of limitations that the young Chiluba faced growing up. In a society that looks down upon short statured people, it is clear that his height too could have one of those drawbacks. But the story of Chiluba is a story of inspiration in spite of limitations.

Here a man without High School education worked hard as a bus conductor to read a few A Level courses which he later admitted to have flanked. Additionally, not to be outdone by his many challenges, Chiluba went as far as Tanzania looking for opportunities. When he came back to Zambia in his twenties, he translated the knowledge he acquired while working in the Tanzanian Sisal industry into good use. He used his courageousness and his fearlessness to become a defender of his fellow workers. Through the trade union, a diminutive Chiluba had found an opportunity to talk and walk the tallest.

Chiluba walked tall - Munshya wa Munshya

Chiluba walked tall – Munshya wa Munshya

When Kenneth Kaunda legislated that all trade unions would be amalgamated and controlled from one umbrella body, little did he know that one of the leaders that would use this umbrella body to oust him was Frederick Chiluba. Indeed Chiluba used and enjoyed the visibility that his stature gave him. And as an outspoken member of the unions, it was just natural that the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions would appoint him its leader. The leadership position he held until 1991 when he was elected president of the Republic.

During Chiluba’s tenure at ZCTU Kaunda made several overtures to have Chiluba appointed into Cabinet. However, to his credit Chiluba refused. A man from a poor background was not quick to jump into the opportunities of richness. He did not want to abandon his fight for the workers in order to eat ignoble bread at Kaunda’s table. Chiluba, a figure of modest history demonstrated to Kaunda that he was a man of steel, and not even Kaunda could bend him. In 1990, Kaunda wanted to exploit Chiluba’s history. He claimed that Chiluba’s history is questionable. To this Chiluba simply responded:

“I am surprised that President Kaunda claims that he does not know me…I am surprised that Kaunda claims that I have a questionable background…I am the one whom he wanted to make Minister of Labour, but I said no, Sir!”

With these words, Frederick Chiluba demonstrated to Zambians that he had not been dented by Kaunda’s corruption and therefore was ready to lead the Third Republic.

Becoming Leader of the MMD

In 1990, choosing a leader for the MMD was not an easy feat. But all sections of the MMD united around Frederick Chiluba. Even many academics in the movement acknowledged the intelligence and brilliance of Chiluba.

Chiluba acquired this brilliance, neither in the walls of the classroom nor in the decors of laboratories but rather on the street. It is this courage, this education, and this street wisdom that made Frederick Chiluba fit to lead Zambia’s new political party.

Church and State

And in consistency with his predecessor, one of the first acts of the presidency was Christian commitment. For Kaunda, three months in power in January 1965, he launched the United Church of Zambia, calling it a “national edifice.”

For Chiluba, three months in power he addressed a prayer meeting at State House where he renounced corruption and witchcraft and declared Zambia as a Christian nation. This 1991 declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation is perhaps one of the most far reaching decisions that would long linger in history.

The Union Leader

Chiluba was a fighter for worker’s rights as a union leader. He was incorruptible. He refused several of Kaunda’s overtures at corruption. He stood for principles. But history will ponder when he started entertaining excesses. The fact that, after his presidency in 2001, he was found to have had hundreds and hundreds of custom made suits, shoes, and underwear stands contrary to a Chiluba of the 1980s.

In death, Zambia should continue to reflect on what may have gone wrong and on how a champion of the poor became so excessive.

Political Engineer

If Chiluba defined himself as a political engineer, this was true in practice as it was in theory. A man who failed A’ Levels could still make it in academia. It was Warwick University that saw the potential in Frederick Chiluba and gave him a chance to enrol for a Master of Philosophy Degree. In his dissertation entitled “Democracy: The Challenge of Change” Chiluba explained political theory and committed himself to leave the presidency after he had served 2 terms. He was critical of the “President for Life” syndrome.

But a few years before his second term was to expire, it appeared that he too was falling prey to the African disease and a Third Term started to infect a few of his close associates including his party secretary Michael Chilufya Sata.

To his credit however, Chiluba kept his word and left office after ten years. His political geniusness led him to sidestep his popular former vice-presidents Godfrey Miyanda, Christon Tembo, and national secretary Sata to appoint a political nemesis Levy Mwanawasa as his successor. This decision would haunt him for years to come.

The Fall of a Democrat?

Chiluba, a 1980s champion of workers’ rights and a 1990s champion of liberal democracy was under the Mwanawasa administration answering charges of theft. His six-year trial is as much part of his legacy as his other years. No doubt that some Zambians will remember Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba for the charges of corruption he faced more than for the good things he did while in office.

The pain of those charges and the embarrassment they brought against his personal integrity has been discussed by many.


Chiluba’s only redemption came in 2008, after the death of President Levy Mwanawasa. Mwanawasa’s successor, Rupiah Banda refused to call Chiluba a thief such that when the courts of law acquitted Chiluba of theft, Banda called him “a damn good president.” The Post Newspapers felt insulted by Banda’s words and continued to call Chiluba all sorts of names.

In death, however, Zambians should put their political differences aside and unite to mourn the passing of an extraordinary man. A diminutive man who walked among us with extraordinary courage: Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba.

In this video, Frederick Chiluba proclaiming Zambia a Christian nation:

Here is a response to my article on presidential bombasa. My friend from Ghana E.O. Opoku critiques my article.

Cat. Richard Opoku Public Library

By Ebenezer Osei Opoku

This is an academic critique of the article by Elias Munshya wa Munshya titled “Penetrating Presidential Bombasa: Why the ACC Can’t Question President Rupiah Banda Without Parliamentary Sanction”.


The article1 by Elias Munshya wa Munshya which I seek to critique, questions the power of Zambia’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to compel a former president to attend a criminal investigation hearing by asserting constitutional immunity and legal precedence. By this article I tackle the position adopted by the author by first analysing the purported immunity and precedential value of Chiluba v Attorney-General2 on this matter and briefly consider why the ACC has the power to do so under the laws of Zambia. The heads of consideration are Immunity, The value of the Chiluba Precedence and the ACC Power to Summon”.

The Issue of Immunity

Determining the extent of immunity afforded former presidents under the Zambian Constitution…

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Returning Abdul: An Analysis of Justice Mchenga’s Ruling in Simwaya v Attorney General (2013)

By E Munshya wa Munshya

On 12th December 2012 Zambia’s Home Affairs Minister issued a deportation order to one Abdul Simwaya. Referring to him as a “foreign national”, Hon. Edgar Lungu declared that Simwaya had become “a danger to national security”.[1] Mr. Lungu further stated, “Government will not hesitate to deport foreigners that breach Zambian laws”. In a December 15 edition of the Zambia Daily Mail (a newspaper owned by the government), Lungu is further reported to have linked Simwaya to “terrorist activities in East Africa and sponsoring political parties in Zambia”.[2]

There were some problems, however, with the assertions from Mr. Lungu. The man the honorable minister had claimed to deport was actually a naturalized citizen of Zambia having been granted citizenship by the Citizens Board of Zambia on 17th October 1986. Abdul Simwaya came to Zambia in 1966 at age 21. He has lived in Zambia since then. He married a Zambian woman and has several children and grandchildren.

After his deportation to Rwanda in December 2012, Simwaya retained lawyer Maureen Mwanawasa and commenced judicial review procedures. Judicial review is a process by which courts check the exercise of executive power. As a court process, it is concerned with the process rather than the merits of the decision taken by a government officer or body. As such, when Mrs. Mwanawasa took up this case – she argued that the Honorable Minister had disregarded the law in first, depriving Simwaya of his Zambian citizenship and secondly, in his subsequent deportation from Zambia. Judicial review can be sought on at least three grounds: illegality, procedural impropriety, and or irrationality/unreasonableness.

A decision of the executive could be illegal if an officer makes a decision outside his powers. For example, if a statute requires Hon Lungu to take electricity to Milenge but neglects to do so but uses the same law to instead electrify Ikeleng’i, this exercise of power would be illegal. Additionally, if a relevant statute empowers a Minister to do something but he does another, his decision could be illegal. When it comes to procedural impropriety, if a statute states the procedure that a government official is supposed to follow before making a decision, but such an officer ignores that procedure, the courts could invalidate that decision.

Irrationality comes in as a third limb to judicial review. Granted that the executive has satisfied both legal and procedural requirements a decision could still be found wanting if it is deemed to be unreasonable or irrational. The law imposes the duty to be reasonable upon all public officers in the exercise of their responsibility. Actually, in the case of the Kachingwe (MMD) v Registrar of Societies & Attorney General (2012), Madame Justice J. Kabuka found that while Mr. Andeleki’s decision to deregister the MMD had met both legal and procedural requirements, the decision was reversed due to irrationality and unreasonableness. As a rule, statute authority is not a license for senseless decision-making.

Simwaya’s advocates led by Mrs. Maureen Mwanawasa argued before Justice Chalwe Mchenga that Hon Lungu’s decision was both illegal and procedurally defective. In his ruling Justice Mchenga agreed. He provided several reasons for his decision. First, referring to Section 22 (3) (d) of the Citizenship Act, Justice Mchenga ruled that the said Act does empower the Citizenship Board to deprive a naturalized citizen of Zambian citizenship, if:

…the registration as a citizen was obtained by means of fraud, false representation, the concealment of any material fact or through some other corrupt practice;

The major problem discovered by Justice Mchenga, however, was that there was no record that the decision to revoke Simwaya’s citizenship was taken by the Citizenship Board. The Board never sat and as such the minister made the decision alone. This was therefore, illegal, to the extent that the relevant statute never empowered Lungu to act in the manner he did. Hon Lungu could not at law be the Citizenship Board. If an act of parliament categorically states who is to carry out a particular function, it would be illegal if someone who is not empowered to do so usurps that function. On this ground Hon Lungu lost.

The second reason is closely connected to the first. Before the Board makes the decision to deprive someone of citizenship – it is required to follow a clear procedure. The Board is supposed to write the person concerned. Within seven days, that individual could request for an inquiry into the matter.

If a person notified in pursuance of the provisions of sub-section (6) applies for an inquiry within such time and in such manner as may be prescribed, the Board shall refer the case for inquiry and report to a commissioner appointed by the Board for the purpose – S. 22 (7) of the Citizenship Act.

Again, Mr. Justice Mchenga found that Mr. Simwaya had responded within the stipulated time and requested for an inquiry to be conducted. However, Hon Edgar Lungu neglected this request. In disregard to Section 22 (7), Edgar Lungu decided to deport Simwaya instead. This was found to be unacceptable. Indeed, if a government official is exercising powers under a statute, he or she is bound to follow procedures delineated in that particular legislation. This applies to a government body such as the Citizenship Board as well. As such, Simwaya’s deportation was illegal to the extent that the Citizenship Board neglected to appoint a commissioner as requested by Simwaya.

It was for these reasons that Judge Mchenga ruled that Mr Lungu’s decision “in his capacity as Chairman of the Citizenship Board is null and void for want of authority.” Additionally, neither the Board nor Mr. Lungu had the authority to “revoke his citizenship because he had invoked his right to be subjected to an inquiry.” As such, Mr. Simwaya was “still a Zambian and the deportation order issued was unlawful.”

Since judicial review is concerned not with the merits of the decision but with the procedures only, there is nothing that stops the Michael Sata government from looking at this matter again. They could follow the correct procedure this time around and eventually deport Mr. Abdul Simwaya. Doing so however, might come with serious political risk.

A jurist once said “I don’t care what the law says until I know which judge is sitting to adjudicate.” This jurist might have been right. There are instances where the law is as good as the judge hearing it. Judges do affect the law and its interpretation. Therefore, it is quite significant that it was Justice Chalwe Mchenga who was called to adjudicate this matter of naturalized citizenship. Just from his middle name of Farai, it could be inferred that he has some Shona, consequently Zimbabwean heritage. Indeed in a nation like ours where some of our citizens are a collection of peoples with heritage from neighboring countries, a definition of who is Zambian and who is not cannot exclude people like Simwaya who have been domiciled in Zambia since 1966 in spite of their confusing origins. As least with a Zambian judge called Farai – the issue of delineating Zambian citizenship based on cultural heritage or tribe or origin might be getting irrelevant by the day.

Simwaya’s story cannot be very far removed from African realities. Lungu and the immigration department claimed that Simwaya had given material contradictory statements about where he was born. When applying for citizenship he stated that he was born in Bukavu in Congo DR, but when applying for an NRC and passport his birthplace was in Bugarama, Rwanda. But considering that Abdul left Congo DR in 1966 at 21 as a Rwandan refugee escaping into Zambia – this discrepancy is not unusual. In colonial Africa, when Abdul was born places of birth and indeed dates of birth became very complex to pinpoint. For example, the distance between Bukavu and Bugarama is only 37 kms, and would take 40 minutes to drive. To put it into the Zambian perspective – a person born in Milenge in 1940 could equally claim Mansa as home. Even if Milenge is considered separate from Mansa most Milengeans conceptually take Mansa as their town too. The distance between Milenge and Mansa Boma is about the same as the one between Bukavu and Bugarama. The issue of country is even more irrelevant. At the time Abdul was born – the idea that Rwanda was conceptually a separate country from Bukavu existed only in the annals of the colonizers and not among the local Tutsi or Hutus.

A 70-year old grandfather should not be deprived of Zambian citizenship simply because they misstated their place of birth. Indeed, had an inquiry been conducted about Abdul Simwaya it could have highlighted some of these discrepancies, difficulties and the implications they may have on many Zambians faced with similar issues. The questions about Abdul could be connected to the wider famous questions of a person like President Kenneth Kaunda. Where was Kaunda born? Was it at Chinsali or was it at his mother’s home village in Malawi. Or does it even matter what he stated about where he was born? What about Chiluba? Was he born in Kitwe, Musangu, or across the river?

The deportation of Simwaya, unfortunately, reflects the erosion of the rule of law in Zambia. Had it been an isolated incident, we could have given the Zambian state a benefit of doubt. But, regrettably, these deportations have happened too many times. At worst – Hon Edgar Lungu’s tenure at the Home office has been plagued by abuses of the rule of law and wanton legal recklessness. Clearly, as stated by Counsel Mwanawasa – Zambia has reached crossroads in terms of the rule of law. If indeed, Lungu cannot get it right on a simple matter such as citizenship, how could the Zambians be confident of this government?

After the hard work of Abdul’s counsel, Maureen Mwanawasa, we all should be happy that at last an injustice has been undone. And as ruled by a Zambian judge known as Farai, Abdul Simwaya will be returning to the sacred soil of our republic. Zambia is the only home he has known since landing on our shores in 1966, way before seventy-five percent of our population was even born.

(c) Elias Munshya, BA, LLB (Hons), MA, MDiv – 2013

Penetrating Presidential Bombasa: Why the ACC Can’t Question President Rupiah Banda Without Parliamentary Sanction

 By E Munshya wa Munshya

Former republican president Rupiah Banda has been summonsed by the Anti-Corruption Commission to appear before it for questioning in connection with investigations into corruption it is carrying out. In writing the former president, ACC Director-General Rose Wandi did mention that she wanted to question Rupiah Banda in spite of his immunity. There is debate whether Director-General Wandi does have the power to summons the former president and if so, whether she has the power to compel him to appear before her.

This article will argue that the current position of the law is that a former president like Rupiah Banda who still enjoys presidential immunity cannot be compelled to appear before the ACC in connection with investigations involving criminal matters suspected to have been committed during the time he served as president unless such immunity has been removed by parliament. The parent provision that prescribes immunities held by a former president is found under Article 43 (3) of the Zambian Constitution. This is what it says:

A person who has held, but no longer holds, the office of President shall not be charged with a criminal offence or be amenable to the criminal jurisdiction of any court, in respect of any act done or omitted to be done by him in his personal capacity while he held office of President, unless the National Assembly has, by resolution, determined that such proceedings would not be contrary to the interests of the State.

This provision is quite specific. It suggests at least two things in connection with presidential immunity. First, a former president cannot be charged with a criminal offence and second, cannot be amenable to the criminal jurisdiction of any court.

However, Director Wandi, seems to be arguing in her letter that all she wants is to question him so that he could explain some matters in which he has been implicated. There probably could be no difference at law between what Article 43 (3) is saying and what Wandi seems to be suggesting. Questioning a former president over criminal matters before his immunity is removed could at law be the same as subjecting him before the criminal justice system. Subjecting Rupiah Banda before the criminal justice system before his immunity is removed by parliament could contravene the constitution.

The purpose of presidential immunity is to help safeguard interests of the State. That is the constitution has envisaged a situation where a criminal probe might actually be prejudicial to the interests of the State. As such, only parliament can make the determination whether prosecuting a former president should go ahead or not. Again, from the way Article 43 (3) is framed a criminal act done by a former president cannot and should not result in automatic criminal prosecution. Prosecution is encouraged only to the extent that it would “not be contrary to the interests of the State.” And the primary determinant of that, unfortunately, is not the Anti-Corruption Commission nor the Zambia Police but parliament.

The purpose for presidential immunity was also addressed in the case of Godfrey Kenneth Miyanda v Attorney General (2002) where Madame Justice Mambilima stated that the rationale for presidential immunity was “to avoid the president being unduly cautious in the discharge of his official Duties.” Madame Justice J. Kabuka also relied on this position when she passed judgment in the infamous Wynter Kabimba v Attorney General, Richard Kachingwe & the Elections Commission of Zambia (2011) case.

In 2001, when issues to do with prosecuting President Frederick Chiluba for theft and corruption arose, the High Court directed that beginning criminal investigations and questioning Frederick Chiluba did have implications on his immunity. It would be difficult to question and investigate Frederick Chiluba without having to lift his immunity first. As such, without even bothering with bringing Chiluba for questioning, President Levy Mwanawasa instead took “prima facie evidence” before parliament and asked the legislature to determine whether or not prosecuting Chiluba would be contrary to the interests of the State. After a few hours of deliberation parliament found that Chiluba could be prosecuted and decided to lift his immunity.

Chiluba was obviously unsatisfied with parliament’s decision and decided to apply to the High Court for judicial review. Chiluba’s argument was somewhat circular. He claimed that it was unfair for parliament to remove his immunity without giving him a hearing and in fact, without even investigating the very prima facie evidence President Mwanawasa presented to parliament. In the case of Chiluba v Attorney-General (Appeal Number 125 of 2002) [2003] ZMSC 3, the Supreme Court justices held that what parliament did was only determine that Chiluba could now be amenable to the criminal justice system. It was up to that criminal justice system to determine the rest of the situation. Parliament did not need to hear or to question Chiluba. Parliament is not the Anti-Corruption Commission and neither is it the Zambia Police. It was then after this judgment that the Task Force on Corruption pounced on Chiluba and brought him in for questioning.

As such, if Director-General Rosewin Wandi really wants to question President Rupiah Banda – she must begin by first and foremost convincing parliament that her investigating of Rupiah Banda would not be prejudicial to the interests of the State. She does not need to provide any evidence. All she needs is to convince parliament that she needs to question Rupiah Banda. It is only after parliament lifts Rupiah Banda’s immunity that she could then freely question him and possibly prosecute him.

What happens to the letter Director-General Rosewin Wandi has written then? For starters, President Rupiah Banda could ignore it and throw it in a dustbin. But he would not want to do that if that letter is accompanied by a resolution of Zambia’s parliament.

This posting is not meant to convey legal advice. Its purpose is to add to the debate on an important national matter. Those who need specific legal opinion on this and related matters are encouraged to consult members of the Zambian Bar. (c) Elias Munshya, B.A., LLB (Hons), M.A., M.Div. (2013)