The death of the fifth republican President of Zambia, Michael Chilufya Sata, on October 28, 3 days after the jubilee was deeply saddening for the nation. He becomes the second president to die in office after Levy Patrick Mwanawasa.
On October 19, President Sata traveled to London for a medical checkup after months of government denying that he was seriously ill. Early morning on October 29, secretary to Cabinet Dr Roland Msiska announced on state television and radio that the President had passed on.
A requiem mass and state funeral was held at the National Heroes Stadium on November 11, 2014, and his body was buried at the Embassy Park Presidential cemetery in Lusaka.
Sata won the presidency on September 23, 2011 by unseating a government that had been in power for 20 years and the three years presidency of incumbent Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) Rupiah Banda.
Sata’s political career was long and illustrious beginning in 1956. He joined the African National Congress which was agitating for independence. In 1960 he joined the United National Independence Party (UNIP), holding several positions as he climbed the ranks including becoming as a leader of its Youth League, serving as a municipal councilor, then as governor of Lusaka under first republican president, Kenneth Kaunda in 1985.
He was also member of parliament for Kabwata constituency in 1983 and was re-elected in 1988. He was appointed as minister of State in Charge of Decentralisation, a position he held until 1991.
With the introduction of multi-party democracy in 1990, he joined the MMD in 1991 and retained his position as Kabwata’s MP until 1996. His last parliamentary assignment was as MP for Mpika Central constituency from 1996 to 2001.
Sata came to the forefront of governance in Zambian politics, from 1991 to 2001 under president Frederick Chiluba. He served as minister in four 4 cabinet portfolios at Local Government and National Housing, Labour, Health and as a minister without Portfolio, the third-highest post in government.
In 2001 Chiluba passed him over as MMD aspirant presidential candidate in favour of Mwanawasa, Sata left to form his political party - Patriotic Front - and 10 years later succeeded at becoming Zambia’s 5th president.
His perseverance and hard working nature is among the hallmark of his character, presidency and legacy.
Dr Peter Matoka, 84
Many young people today have no idea that Dr Peter Matoka was among the young vibrant politicians of his time who participated in the freedom struggle and emerged to open government to Zambians after decades of white colonial rule by the British. He died September 12.
A distinguished citizen, Dr Matoka is among Zambian’s nationals that sought to serve the nation. He astutely analyzed the power structure and worked hard to become a pioneering leader in the national arena contributing to shaping Zambia’s post-independence economy.
Dr Matoka earned a bachelor’s degree from Natal University at the age of 24 in 1954 before joining the struggle for independence. This achievement could not have been easy as he was not only the first university graduate from North-Western province but was one of only 100 university graduates Zambia held at Independence.
With his credentials and involvement in the liberation struggle, it is not surprising that Dr Matoka was among the first citizens to hold public office - in the 14 member cabinet - under first republican President Dr Kenneth Kaunda in 1964 putting him and his peers in a unique governance position.
Dr Matoka was a member of UNIP’s Central Committee and served as Mwinilunga member of Parliament. He diligently served in government in various capacities including as minister of Information and was Zambia’s envoy to the United Kingdom.
Dr Matoka was a scholar at heart and when he was no longer participating in politics, he happily immersed himself in academia attaining a doctorate in Sociology at the age of 60 from the University of Warwick, UK. He was serving as chancellor at Copperstone University at the time of his death and he lectured at the University of Zambia prior.
The late Dr Matoka was honoured with a day of national mourning and buried in Chief Kanongesha’s chiefdom in Mwinilunga.
Willa D. Mung’omba, 74
Prominent lawyer and business executive Willa D. Mung’omba died in South Africa February 16.
Mung’omba is among the founding members of the Law Association of Zambia.
Involved in the legal community for more than 45 years, he was a leader in business, a wise counsellor to many and, at the same time, someone who also understood and promoted good public policy.
Mung’omba who served as Constitution Review Commission (CRC) chairperson, was highly regarded for producing a draft constitution that reflected the desires of the Zambian people.
His peers remember him with respect throughout his professional service, and recall that he was never boastful and was passionate about the constitution making process, frequently spoke to legal practitioners and always generous with his time as a mentor.
‘I have personally known the late Mr Mung’omba over the years, as a composed, soft-spoken, devoted patriot and intellectual hub that served this country with utmost sincerity and enthusiasm,’ President Sata said of him in a message of condolences to his family.
Mung’omba was active in corporate circles and was executive chairman of the board at ZCCM Investments Holdings PLC from 2011 until his death.
Previously, the World Bank appointed him team leader for the initial preparation of the ZCCM Limited privatisation report and plan by the United Kingdom-based Investment Bank NM, Rothschild & Sons and international law firm Clifford Chance.
Other corporate tenures include his service as president of the African Development Bank from 1980 to 1985, chairperson and director of Capital Bank Limited and he was also non-executive director on the initial board of the Emerging African Infrastructure Fund, a donor-funded financial instrument encouraging public and private sector partnership in infrastructure development in sub-Saharan Africa.
Dennis Liwewe, 78
The death of Dennis Liwewe following a long battle with liver complications was confirmed by his son Ponga,
The news that Zambia’s highly respected and beloved legendary football commentator had died brought an outpouring of tributes by players, colleagues and fans, all expressing sadness at his passing and recalling how his play by play rendition of the game made everyone sit up and take notice.
For a generation he was the most familiar and respected name in football broadcasting.
Liwewe spoke a much different soccer language from other sports pundits ... which appealed to everyone, young or old, male or female, football fan or not you paid attention to his commentary.
His jubilant ‘It’s a gooooooal!’ each time Zambia scored, vibrated through the airwaves and made you wish you were at the stadium to celebrate the moment. He was like a ball of fire, the man made sportscasting interesting.
Liwewe was an authority on Zambian football and had that great balance of being both entertaining and factually right, backing up what he was saying with statistics and a sharp memory of previous field exploits by players.
He was the voice of football for Zambia’s first appearance at the 1974 Africa Cup finals in Egypt where the team was the runner up at the competition and at the 1980 Moscow and 1988 Seoul Olympic football tournaments. His easy-going style, which rose to great excitement upon great plays on the field especially in key situations, brought the games closer to home.
He also led the nation in paying a moving tribute to the Zambia national team that perished off the coast of Libreville in Gabon in April 1993. His love of football and also his accessibility to fans earned him the prestigious Order of Distinguished Service in 1977 bestowed on him by President Kenneth Kaunda.
Dennis Lota, 40
Zambia’s football star Dennis ‘Chesa Mpama’ Lota died in hospital on February 4 after falling ill a week earlier.
One of the few Zambian international football stars, the news of his death caught many Zambians off guard, as they had no idea he had been taken ill. Expressing sadness at his passing fans including President Sata paid tribute to his impressive soccer career.
A former striker for the Zambian national team, Chipolopolo, he went on to play for one of South Africa’s biggest clubs Orlando Pirates, where he earned his nickname – Chesa Mpama – for his goal celebration of rubbing his hands together.
Dennis represented Zambia in four Africa Cup of Nations final squads in 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2002, and was a prolific goal scorer for Chipolopolo.
His career saw him play for several clubs in Zambia including Zanaco, Nchanga Rangers, Kabwe Warriors and Konkola Blades.
In South Africa besides his stay with the Pirates, Dennis also played for Amazulu, Mpumalanga Black Aces, Witbank Aces, FC AK, Dangerous Darkies and Moroka Swallows, where he returned after retiring to work as assistant coach until his untimely death.