Frederick Chiluba, Infamous Zambia Leader, Dies at 68






Frederick Chiluba, the first democratically elected president of Zambia, a man whose image as a defender of civil liberties was later tarnished by his efforts to suppress political opposition and accusations that he used millions of dollars of public money on his wardrobe and other extravagances, died Saturday in Lusaka. He was 68.

He suffered from chronic heart problems. His death was confirmed by his spokesman, Emmanuel Mwamba.

The son of a copper miner, Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba — a diminutive man barely five feet tall — was Zambia’s president from 1991 to 2002. His ascent to high office was for a time considered a heartening success story in a poor, landlocked nation of 13 million people in southern Africa.

He left secondary school before graduation and was working as a low-paid bookkeeper when he joined a union, rising through the ranks in the labor movement until he became chairman of the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions in 1974.

The nation had won independence 10 years earlier. Kenneth Kaunda, a hero of the liberation struggle, was Zambia’s first president, but his single-party, socialist rule was an economic failure. In 1981, he jailed Mr. Chiluba and other labor leaders without charges after they instigated wildcat strikes....



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