Mwanawasa Day in Zambia

September 3 is Levy Mwanawasa Day in Zambia. He ruled the country from January 2002 until his death in August 2008. Mwanawasa is credited for tackling corruption in Zambia and being outspoken in his criticisms of Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe.

Levy Mwanawasa was born on September 3, 1948 in Mufulira, Northern Rhodesia, the second of 10 children. He attended law school at the University of Zambia and worked in private law firms from 1974 until 1978 when he formed his own firm: Mwanawasa & Company. In 1985, he became Solicitor General in the Zambian government.

To celebrate his 40th birthday, he married Maureen Mwanawasa on September 3 1988, and they remained married until his death. In 1991, he became Vice President of Zambia.

On 8 December 1991 Mwanawasa was involved in a serious traffic accident in which his aide died on the spot. He suffered multiple body injuries and remained hospitalised for three months. An inquiry was set up to investigate who was responsible for the alleged assassination attempt.

In 1994 he unsuccessfully ran for president and left politics until 2001 when he again ran and became the third president of Zambia. He was reelected four years later. On 29 June 2008, while in Egypt for an African Union summit, Mwanawasa was hospitalised due to a stroke. He died on August 19, 2008 while undergoing treatment in France.

His funeral was held on September 3, which would have been his 60th birthday.

Mwanawasa reduced domestic debt, grew the agricultural sector, and reduced interest rates, attracting new businesses.

Cropped image of Mwanawasa in New York during the 59th UN General Assembly.

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