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Levy Patrick Mwanawasa
Profile by Wikimedia Foundation Inc; edits by Eric Gondwe

Please also visit:
1. President Levy Mwanawasa memorial page
2. Click here to sign President Mwanawasa’s memorial guestbook

Dr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa (3 September 1948 – 19 August 2008)[1] was a Zambian politician. He was the President of Zambia from January 2002 to his death in August 2008.

Early life
Mwanawasa was born in Mufulira, Northern Rhodesia 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. After Frederick Chiluba was elected as President, he appointed Mwanawasa as Vice-President in December 1991. Mwanawasa left his firm in March 1992.

Before his party's convention in 1990, Mwanawasa was widely tipped to become the President of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD), but he declined the overture, citing his young age and inexperience.[citation needed] He opted instead to stand as a Member of Parliament and won with an overwhelming majority of the popular vote. Political opponents within his party have been suspected of orchestrating an attempt on his life.[citation needed] On December 8, 1991 Mwanawasa was involved in a serious traffic accident in which his aide died on the spot. He suffered multiple body injuries and was flown to Johannesburg, South Africa for medical treatment. He remained hospitalized for three months. A lasting effect of the accident was his noticeably slurred speech. A commission of inquiry was set up to investigate who was responsible for the alleged assassination attempt. Visiting investigators from Scotland Yard concluded that there had been no plot.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed] In 1996 he unsuccessfully contested Chiluba for the presidency of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy. After the loss, Mwanawasa retired from politics until the 2001 election.

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 December 27, 2001, with 29% due to Zambia's first past the post system, 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 January 2, 2002. However, the results of the elections were disputed by main opposition parties, including Mazoka's United Party for National Development, which many observers claim had actually won the elections.[2] Both domestic and international election monitors cited serious irregularities with the campaign and election, including vote rigging, flawed voter registration, unequal and biased media coverage, and the MMD's improper use of state resources. In January 2002, three opposition candidates petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn Mwanawasa's victory. While the court agreed that the poll was flawed, it ruled in February 2005 that the irregularities did not affect the results and declined the petition.[3]

In January 2005, Mwanawasa apologized to the nation for failing to tackle Zambian poverty. About 75% of the country's population lived on less than $1 a day,[4] the United Nations' indicator of absolute poverty.

He was elected as President of the MMD for a five-year term in 2005.[5]

2006 election
Mwanawasa ran for a second term in the presidential election held on September 28, 2006. Michael Sata was considered his main challenger. His re-election was confirmed on October 2; according to official results, he received 43% of the vote. He was sworn in for another term on October 3.[6] A few days later, he named a new cabinet and appointed Rupiah Banda as Vice-President.[7]

Foreign policy
Mwanawasa criticized President Robert Mugabe of neighboring Zimbabwe. Mwanawasa was one of first African leaders to publicly do so.[8]

In 2006, Mwanawasa experienced a mild stroke.[9]

Then on June 29, 2008, while in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, for an African Union summit, Mwanawasa was hospitalized due to a second stroke. On July 1, he was flown to France for further treatment.[9][10] The head of the Egyptian hospital to which Mwanawasa was taken said that the doctors there had stopped the brain hemorrhage and that he was in a semi-comatose state.[10] Vice-President Banda said that his condition was stable, and Minister of Information Mike Mulongoti noted that Mwanawasa had previously suffered from hypertension; Mulongoti also stressed that Mwanawasa was a "very hard working man" and said that this may have been a factor.[5]

Due to Mwanawasa's incapacitation, Banda became acting President.[5]

Death reports
On July 3, 2008 news outlets began reporting that Mwanawasa had died in a Paris hospital due to his stroke. The story originated at the Johannesburg-based 702 Talk Radio, which cited Malone Zaza, who claimed to be the head of protocol at Zambia's High Commission in Pretoria, South Africa; however, the commission denied having someone employed at the embassy with that name. Mulongoti, speaking for the government, said the news of Mwanawasa's death was "false,"[11] and he urged the South African media to show more restraint in its reporting. As the reports were spreading, South African President Thabo Mbeki called for a moment of silence in Mwanawasa's memory; the South African government quickly expressed regret over this misunderstanding and expressed Mbeki's hopes for Mwanawasa's recovery.[12]

Treatment in France
Mwanawasa was hospitalized at the Percy Military Hospital in Paris. In a statement on July 7, 2008, Banda said that Mwanawasa "remain[ed] in a stable condition" but had to undergo surgery, which Banda described as minor, to correct a breathing problem.[13] Banda said on July 8 that this operation was successful.[14] On July 11, Banda said that that Mwanawasa's condition was stable and that his doctors were "satisfied with [his] current status".[15]

Benny Tetamashimba, the MMD's Chairman for Information and Publicity, subsequently said that the MMD "should begin looking for a successor" to Mwanawasa[16] as President of the MMD.[5] Mulongoti, speaking on state radio on July 14, said that Tetamashimba's suggestion did not represent the government's views. United Party for National Development leader Hakainde Hichilema said that Mwanawasa's incapacitation had paralyzed the functioning of the government.[16] On July 15, Patriotic Front leader Michael Sata questioned the official claims about Mwanawasa's health, and he called for a team of doctors to be sent by the Cabinet to examine Mwanawasa; this team would then disclose Mwanawasa's actual condition.[17] On July 17, the MMD announced that Tetamashimba was facing potential disciplinary action, including the possibility of expulsion from the party.[18] Tetamashimba argued that he had been misunderstood. He also said that Mwanawasa's condition was improving and that he was "responding to treatment", while asserting that the government was functioning smoothly and criticizing the opposition call for a team of doctors to report on Mwanawasa's health.[5]

Banda gave another update of Mwanawasa's condition on July 24, saying that he was making "steady progress ... in his recovery".[19][20] Skepticism regarding Banda's optimistic updates was reportedly widespread.[20] Minister of Health Brian Chituwo, speaking before the National Assembly on August 8, said that Mwanawasa's "healing process will indeed be long" due to the "serious nature of [his] illness".[21]

Vice President Banda said on August 18 that Mwanawasa's condition had suddenly deteriorated and urgent medical intervention was necessary. The intervention was successful, according to Banda, but Mwanawasa remained in serious condition.[22] On 19 August, a family member who wished to remain anonymous stated that Mwanawasa had died early that morning. The news of Mwanawasa's death was confirmed by Banda through a television broadcast on the government-owned Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC).[citation needed] He informed the nation that Mwanawasa had died that morning at 1030 hours (0830 GMT) at the Percy Military Hospital in Paris. Expressing "immense grief and deep sorrow", Banda declared national mourning for seven days and urged Zambians to "remain calm and mourn our President with dignity".[23]

A presidential by-election will have to be called within 90 days.

Personal life
Mwanawasa was married to Maureen Mwanawasa until his death. He had six children, named Miriam, Patrick, Chipokota, Matolo, Lubona and Ntembe. Miriam and Patrick were from his first marriage.[24] His wife was a baptized member of the Jehovah's Witnesses but has since been disfellowshiped because of her active role in politics. It is against the faith of Jehovah's Witnesses to take part or sides in politics.[citation needed]

In March 2005, Mwanawasa was baptised by Southern Baptist missionaries.[25]

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. [26] 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.

Please also visit:
1. President Levy Mwanawasa memorial page
2. Click here to sign President Mwanawasa’s memorial guestbook

Main References

   1. ^ "BBC NEWS - Zambia's president dies in France" (Page last updated at 12:15 GMT, Tuesday, 19 August 2008 13:15 UK). Retrieved on 2008-08-19.
   2. ^ Zambia's Fourth Democratic Elections: A Country of Minority Governments--By Tiens Kahenya, UPND Secretary General
   3. ^ Freedom in the World — Zambia (2006).
   4. ^ "I failed Zambia, says president", BBC News, January 10, 2005.
   5. ^ a b c d e James Butty, "Zambia's Ruling Party Is Not Seeking Mwanawasa's Replacement, Spokesman Said", VOA News, July 21, 2008.
   6. ^ Joseph J. Schatz, "Mwanawasa Sworn in As Zambia President", Associated Press, October 3, 2006.
   7. ^ Shapi Shacinda, "Mwanawasa warns challenger, names new cabinet", Reuters (IOL), October 9, 2006.
   8. ^ Zimbabwe scorns sanctions calls
   9. ^ a b "Ailing Mwanawasa heading to France", Reuters (IOL), July 2, 2008.
  10. ^ a b "'Mwanawasa in semi-coma'", Sapa-Associated Press (IOL), July 2, 2008.
  11. ^ "Zambian President Mwanawasa Is Alive, Government Says (Update1)". Bloomberg (2008-07-03). Retrieved on 2008-07-03.
  12. ^ "False death reports cover globe", Sapa (IOL), July 3, 2008.
  13. ^ "President Mwanawasa undergoes medical review", Zambian Presidency website, 7 July 2008.
  14. ^ "DR MWANAWASA, SC HAD A SUCCESSFUL OPERATION", Zambian Presidency website, 8 July 2008.
  15. ^ "Medical team satisfied with President Mwanawasa's current status", Zambian Presidency website, 8 July 2008.
  16. ^ a b "Successor for Mwanawasa? Not yet, says Zambia", The Mercury (IOL), 15 July 2008, page 6.
  17. ^ "Is Mwanawasa fit to rule?", Sapa-AFP (IOL), July 15, 2008.
  18. ^ "Official calls for Mwanawasa's successor", Sapa-AFP (IOL), 17 July, 2008.
  20. ^ a b "Mwanawasa's condition 'promising'", Sapa-AFP (IOL), July 25, 2008.
  21. ^ "Zambia president 'facing long recuperation'", Sapa-AFP, 8 August 2008.
  24. ^ H.E. LEVY P. MWANAWASA: President of the Republic of Zambia
  25. ^ Baptist Press — Zambian president accepts Christ, baptized at local church — News with a Christian Perspective
  26. ^

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