Thursday, September 12, 2013

Levy sincerely loved Zambia - Nalumango
By Kombe Chimpinde
Sat 24 Aug. 2013, 14:00 CAT

LEVY Mwanawasa was sincerely in love with Zambia and Zambians, says Mutale Nalumango. And Nalumango says Mwanawasa's corruption fight that caught up with some of his close friends was not out of hate but love.

In an interview ahead of Mwanawasa's memorial service slated for September 1, Nalumango, a former deputy speaker of the National Assembly, said the late president would not agree to any policy or decision that was not in the interest of Zambians.

"To me, he was a great leader. In my world, it is hard to find men as sincere as I saw him. To him, Zambia came first. He was not afraid of other people's opinions because he knew what he wanted for Zambia and he was not one who was so power hungry," Nalumango said.

"In fact, I remember him telling me one day saying, 'I don't know why people want to stay forever (as presidents) because this is too tedious; it's a lot of work'."

Nalumango said Mwanawasa, who died in August 2008 at Percy Military Hospital in Paris where he was evacuated after he collapsed during an AU Summit held in Egypt, was a hard worker with an excellent memory.

"Basically, I am talking of integrity which comes from his sincerity. In fact, for me, I would call him a statesman," she said.

Nalumango said Mwanawasa was specific about what he wanted to do for the country.

"He never went with the wind just because people are shouting and they want this or that done. He knew what he wanted for Zambia and he followed his path in trying to develop," Nalumango said.

"Yes, as a democrat he listened but even in the listening, his vision was clear and not played by power and other distracters. So he was a great man. I fondly remember him oh…I miss him."

Nalumango said that she was hopeful that more leaders of Mwanawasa's sort would emerge.

She however said that Mwanawasa faced a number of setbacks during his tenure, such as the issue of legitimacy, an element which was used against him and his government.

"People thought he came in almost as a minority..." she said.

"Another challenge he found was the challenge of the constitution. The issue of the constitution was a handful to be able to sort it out. Within his cabinet, there was no total agreement as to which way to go; the constituent assembly or what was later called the NCC (National Constitution Conference), whether it was okay to go through the enquires Act. For him, he really meant to have the constitution go through before the end of his last term in office."

Nalumango added: "There was also an issue of mines when he came into office, when mine investors were withdrawing because of unprofitability. He had to make serious decisions, like to keep the mines on care and maintenance until a proper investor had come. He was very strong on the Zambian assets."

She said she was happy that some of the fruits of Mwanawasa's labour had and still benefit Zambians.

"Criticisms and insults that we received… I don't want to name some people, in the end people saw that it went well for Zambia and many people fondly remember him," he said.

And Nalumango said Mwanawasa's fight against corruption, which also affected his friends, was not done out of hate but the love he had for country.

"He had no time to waste. You will remember how he handled certain ministers only with allegations, not with proof. He had to put them away from cabinet or the Executive and proved innocent. And yet he loved people, even some people who were perceived to have been persecuted by him. He did it out of love and an opportunity for us to prove ourselves innocent. He was a lovely man," Nalumango said.

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