Levy Mwanawasa’s values live on


“We feel that certain good things that our leaders promote and do during their tenure of office must continue being promoted even after they leave office. As disciples of late President Levy Mwanawasa, we believe in the values he stood for and we felt that we should continue promoting the rule of law among other good things he stood for,” said Levy Mwanawasa Foundation (LMF) vice chairperson Jack Kalala.
Mr Kalala, who is former State House special assistant for policy implementation and monitoring in the Mwanawasa administration, said the formation of the foundation is aimed at promoting the rule of law and zero tolerance to corruption among other good tenets of governance.
The death of President Mwanawasa on August 19, 2008 cast a dark cloud not only over his family but the whole nation if not the continent.
The nation grieved as several heads of state and government representatives from within and beyond the continent flooded Lusaka with messages of condolences.
They later trouped in to pay their last respects to a man they described as a states man, champion of democracy and a vigorous anti-corruption crusade leader.
The word ‘legacy’ suddenly became predominant during and after the funeral and was clearly attached to the principles upon which Dr Mwanawasa’s leadership was rooted.
The third Republican President firmly believed in the rule of law as indicated at the beginning of his reign in 2001 when he said, “I will lead a government of laws and not of men.”
The formation of the LMF is embedded and inspired by Dr Mwanawasa’s principals of good governance.
Mr Kalala said the death of President Levy Mwanawasa was least expected, and that it was a setback on a number of developmental projects that had been set in motion for the country.
“We had started working on a number of things. We wanted him to leave us a legacy and then suddenly he died. We sat down and asked what we were going to do. For us who worked with him, we were for a year like sheep left without a shepherd.
“Like it happened with Jesus’ disciples, we resolved to do something to remember him (Mwanawasa). The idea to establish the LMF was suggested by former State House economic advisor Moses Banda who proposed that we could emulate the Nelson Mandela Foundation so that we continue to promote the values and principles of Dr Mwanawasa,” he called to mind.
Dr Banda is LMF chairperson.
He said the idea was welcomed by everyone including former First Lady Maureen Mwanawasa (Levy’s widow) and the children.
Mr Kalala said stakeholders began meeting in 2010 and subsequently registered the foundation in 2011 under the Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA).
The first directors were Nelly Mutti, Jack Kalala, Lucky Beene, Cecilia Zimba, Dickson Mwansa and Moses Banda. Others are Peter Shakafuswa, Alfred Lungu, Alfred Chipoya, Amos Malupenga, William Chanda, Constatine Chimuka and Maureen Mwanawasa.
Others include Patrick Mwanawasa, Edith Likwabila, Kenneth Mwanza, Davie Fundanga and Lalongo Chitengi.
Mr Kalala said the foundation wants Dr Mwanawasa to be remembered as a lawyer who stood for the rule of law, as his main thrust of leadership.
“He (Dr Mwanawasa) realized that there would be no order in the country without the rule of law and you cannot achieve anything without order. Can you imagine the chaos that would be on our roads if there were no traffic rules?” he asked.
Mr Kalala pointed out that power is a very strong tool which can be used for or against the people.
He noted that power can be used to the disadvantage of the people who are supposed to be served if it is not properly regulated and applied within the confines of the rule of law.
Mr Kalala said this is why the rule of law is very critical to good governance and that its absence can result in bad governance and chaos in the country.
“This is why we have had dictators in some countries because it is about the will of the people in power to be followed instead of the laws and this is what results in failed states. History is there to prove how some rulers mistreated people because they were the rule themselves.
“The rule of law promotes development, when Dr Mwanawasa assumed office we had high inflation and fuel prices and bank rates while corruption was rife. This is why he embraced the rule of law to stamp out corruption, it was not easy and popular but eventually people started liking it and we saw improvements even in the economy and service delivery and these were benefits of the rule of law,” he explained.
He belaboured that the LMF is a group of citizens who are resolved not to let Dr Mwanawasa’s values die but continue propagating them in a similar spirit like the One Zambia One Nation legacy of unit by first republican President Kenneth Kaunda.
Mr Kalala said it would be a ‘great mistake’ to let go of values such as the One Zambia, One Nation because there is a likelihood of people “enclosing themselves in tribal ‘compartments’.”
He said Zambians must also continue reminding themselves of the importance of the value of the rule of law because it is poised to benefit everyone.
“The law must protect everyone regardless of their status. If the rule of law is applied strictly, people will be motivated to do the right thing and this serves the country,” Mr Kalala said.
To effectively champion the Levy Mwanawasa legacy, the foundation plans to embark on different projects such as establishment of library facilities for university law students to enable them effectively grasp and propagate the rule of law after graduation.
Other activities include establishment of torch bearers’ clubs, governance libraries in schools, mentoring and role modeling and enhancing skills to strengthen democracy and social justice.
Mr Kalala said the LMF is also in the process of sourcing for computers for some schools so that the values of the rule of law can be inculcated in Zambians at an early stage while plans are underway to set up some academic initiatives at Mulungushi University in Kabwe.
The foundation is engaged in fundraising activities to raise funds towards championing of the rule of law and that the LMF is open to people with ideas on how best to champion late President Mwanawasa’s legacy.
And Mr Kalala said the LMF is happy that the late President is the first one to be recognised and honoured by the African Union (AU) through the Mwanawasa Democracy Institute (MDI) which has been set up in Zambia.
He said the AU through this gesture appreciates his works in promoting democracy and the rule of law not only in Zambia but the continent at large.
President Mwanawasa’s vision was to see the country transform from poverty to prosperity through democracy, good governance, respect for the rule of law and zero tolerance to corruption.
His mission as republican President stated: “To contribute towards creating a prosperous Zambia for all and bring honour, dignity, integrity, and prosperity to Zambia through honest and selfless hard work above and beyond the normal call of duty for the good of the Zambian people.”