Death of Zambia's President & Anti Corruption Fighter

10 09 2008

The Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, right, died in a French hospital in August after suffering a stroke several weeks ago. The Zambian leader, 59, was a favorite with Western donors for tackling corruption and he had been one of the strongest critics in the region of Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe.

Mr Mwanawasa was credited with turning copper-rich Zambia into an African success story. Mr Banda is expected to take over as acting president according to Zambia’s constitution and elections would be called.

It is to be hoped that world leaders will honour the promise they made tt the 2005 G8 summit in Gleneagles. Eighteen countries, including Zambia, were offered debt relief and promised a doubling of aid by 2010.  That would make an enormous difference in Zambia where foreign aid accounted for $1bn – one third – of the annual budget.

So far additional aid from the West has not been forthcoming. Mwanawasa was furious, and his ministers called it a betrayal. Mwanawasa had been intending to remind the leaders of the rich world of their promise at the G8 summit in Japan in July but he never recovered from his stroke.

To keep a promise, to capitalise on Levy Mwanawasa achievements is the right thing to do. To break the promises may have massive negative repercussions.

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