FORMER Defence Minister Ben Mwila, 70, is dead. Mr Mwila, popularly known as BY, died in South Africa yesterday, according to the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation.
Mr Mwila died on Saturday, August 17, 2013 around 18:00 hours. Family Spokesperson Chanda Chimba the III has also confirmed.
BY was one of the founders and financiers of the MMD and he became the Defence Minister in 1991 the position he held for seven years, the longest to have served in that position.
Mr Mwila was also Uncle to the Second Republican President Frederick Chiluba. During the funeral of Chiluba, BY was the family Spokesperson.
After being expelled from MMD due to his presidential ambition, Mr Mwila formed his political Party that later merged with ZADECO became Zambia Republican Party (ZRP).
He contested the 2001 elections under the ZRP ticket with the current PF General Secretary Wynter Kabimba as his Vice president.
In the run-up to 2006 elections Mr Mwila’s ZRP, PF, PUDD and Never Mumba’s party formed an Alliance called National Democratic Focus.
The PF later pulled out after the Mwila and other opposition leaders refused to give Michael Sata the presidency saying a convention must be held to elect a presidential candidate.
At the Kabwe convention Mr Mwila beat Dr Mumba in a tightly contested election to be the president of NDF.
Dr Mumba then left NDF but Mr Mwila contested the 2006 elections as a Parliamentary candidate in Chienge, his home village. This is the only seat NDF won in 2006.
In the last elections he supported the candidature of President Rupiah Banda who lost to Mr Sata of PF.