Zambia: How Will Chiluba Be Remembered?

How will Chiluba be remembered? That is the question that is being debated by Zambian netizens on various networks. The buzz on the late former president’s death and his legacy is almost reflective of one of Zambian language sayings which states that on the day an elephant dies, it is the talk of the village.

The story of Zambia’s second president, Frederick Chiluba, reads like a Homeric tale in Greek mythology in which someone of humble beginnings rises up and heroically knocks off the perch the ruler of a state and takes over. In the process, the hero falls in love with a wicked nymph and is consumed in her power.

One Facebooker put it on his wall, the death of former President Chiluba, who died on June 18, has brought more mixed opinions and divisions than that of his nemesis and successor Levy Mwanawasa. A few months into office in 2002, Mwanawasa waived Chiluba’s presidential immunity accusing the second president of plundering millions of US dollars from the national treasury.

Some netizens say that Chiluba must be allowed to rest in peace while others maintain that the former president should be treated even in death for what he was, a plunderer whose actions while in office impoverished many people in the country he ruled from 1991 to 2001.

Perhaps, the eulogy by Munshya wa Munshya captures best the views of those who say Chiluba ought to be remembered for the good he did for the country rather than dwelling on the negative side of his reign.

© Global Voices Online Gershom Ndhlovu

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