Â President Levy Mwanawasa has been bestowed with an honorary doctorate degree in law by the Harding University of the United States of America.
This is in recognition for his outstanding performance as a lawyer over the past years.
The presentation of the doctorate was given to the president at the Benson auditorium of the university.
Dr. Mwanawasa who has been attending the 62nd session of the United Nations in New York, was visibly overjoyed when David Burks, president of the University presented him with the doctorate.
In accepting the award, Dr. Mwanawasa said he will dedicate the degree to Zambian boys and girls still struggling to find their rightful position in society.
Dr. Mwanawasa said as a young boy, he never thought of pursuing law as a career but was inspired by a Mr. Jack Dare a renowned lawyer who had visited his school and gave an inspiring lecture about law.
He said since that lecture, he developed a special interest in law and worked hard to ensure his dreams of becoming a lawyer in life materialised.
He said before he met Mr. Dare, he had thought of becoming a pilot, teacher or even locomotive driver, but all these plans were pushed by the way side later in life.
Dr. Mwanawasa said career success always come with great responsibility not only to one’s family but to society at large and that it was for this reason that he had since his university days , endeavoured to make positive contribution to his country, Zambia.
Dr. Mwanawasa who ran through his early days as a young lawyer said he had for a long time been provoked by situations around him to do something for society as things usually go wrong as people decide not to do anything about them.
â€œDuring my years of practice, many of my clients were mostly those fighting for their fundamental human rights, a fact that was very dangerous during this time of Zambiaâ€™s history. People were being detained for expressing themselves. And for or not associating with certain individuals, friends and relatives,â€ Dr. Mwanawasa said.
He said people were detained on flimsy reasons and that he could not withstand the injustice that prevailed then.
He said what was more disturbing was the fact that people who were wrongly detained could not be compensated in any way.
Dr. Mwanawasa told the audience present at the ceremony that liberal politics in Zambia were outlawed and business was closely controlled thereby making both politics and very dangerous grounds to venture into as the country was steadily moving to communism.
He said following the wind of change which swept through the country in 1991, there was a change of Government which ushered in the MMD into power and he served as vice president.
He said as a lawyer, he was not happy that even the leadership of his party was not conforming to the needs of the people as some tenets of corruption started appearing, a thing which did not please him and thereby leading to his consequent resignation as vice president.
Dr. Mwanawasa said he felt challenged when he was elected as republican president in 2001 as he thought he now had an opportunity to tackle certain things he could not do as vice president.
The president said as a result of the fight against corruption, good governance has returned to Zambia but he was quick to say that good governance alone was not enough if it did not help to improve the livelihood of the people.
In this regard, the president said the country has been able to improve the economic growth and that 6.2 percent growth was achieved in the past five years for the first time in Zambiaâ€™s history.
Dr. Mwanawasa who paid glowing tribute to the Harding University for the excellent work they are doing at Namianga High School in Southern Province also wished the university success in their quest to establish a university at Namianga.
He said his Government’s aim was to establish Zambia as a centre of excellence in education in the Southern African region.
The President was accompanied by his wife Maureen, Minister of Education, Professor Geoffrey Lungwangwa, Health Minister Brian Chituwo, Agriculture Minister Ben Kapita and Minister of Justice George Kunda.
Other senior officials at hand to witness the ceremony were Zambiaâ€™s Ambassador to the United States, Dr. Inonge Mbikusita Lewanika, Secretary to the Cabinet Dr. Joshua Kanganja and Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Tens Kapoma.