By Prince Bill M. Kaping’a Social/Political Analyst
As the wind of change swept across the continent in the early 1990s, we would see a buoyant MMD finally dislodge the once-dominant UNIP from power after a scintillating election that would leave Kenneth Kaunda stunned!
President Fredrick Chiluba would proceed to construct a team with representation from every corner of the land: Vice president – Levy Mwanawasa (Copperbelt); Minister without portfolio – Godfrey Miyanda (Eastern); Finance – Emmanuel Kasonde (Northern); Defence – Benny Mwila (Northern); Home Affairs – Chitalu Sampa (Northern); Labour – Newstead Zimba (Eastern); Foreign – Vernon Mwaanga (Southern); Legal affairs – Rodger Chongwe (Eastern); Local government & Housing – Michael Sata (Northern); Health – Boniface Kawimbe (Northern); Information – Stan Kristafor (Minority group); Commerce & Industry – Ronald Penza (Northern); Mines – Humphrey Mulemba (N/western).
Readers may recall that although the Eastern province had literally rejected MMD and overwhelmingly voted for UNIP, Chiluba would still appoint a good number of people from the region as full cabinet ministers notably among them, Lt. Gen. Tembo, Br. Gen. Miyanda and of course, his colleague from the labour movement, Newstead Zimba etc.
Following the botched 3rd term campaign, Levy Mwanawasa would emerge victorious amidst protests and complaints of widespread rigging from the main opposition at the time, the United Party for National Development. Although certain sections of society would waste no time lampooning the new cabinet as a “Family Tree”; in reality, Mwanawasa had gone out of his way to allocate positions fairly, including those from the regions where he was out-rightly rejected such as his vice – Lupando Mwape, a Northerner. The rest of the notable cabinet ministers were as follows: Finance – Ngandu Magande (Southern); Defence – George Mpombo (Copperbelt); Home Affairs – Ronnie Shikapwasha (Central); Foreign Affairs – Kabinga Pande (N/western); Legal Affairs – George Kunda (Central); Local Government & Housing – Benny Tetamashimba (N/western); Information – Vernon Mwaanga (Southern); Commerce & Industry – Felix Mutati (Northern); Secretary to the cabinet – Leslie Mbula (Copperbelt).
And when his deputy, Rupiah Banda, stepped into his shoes following his sudden demise outside the country he obviously had to effect changes to the cabinet to prove he was his own man by roping in his loyalists: Vice President – George Kunda (Central); Finance – Situmbeko Musokotwane (Western); Defence – Kalombo Mwansa (Luapula); Home Affairs – Lameck Mangani (Eastern); Foreign affairs – Kabinga Pande (N/western); Legal – George Kunda (Central); Local government & housing – Benny Tetamashimba (N/western); Mines – Kalombo Mwansa (Northern) Information – Ronnie Shikapwasha (Central); Commerce & industry – Felix Mutati (Northern); Health – Kapembwa Simbao (Northern); Secretary to the cabinet – Joshua Kanganja (N/western).
It’s clear from the above that almost all the provinces were represented in this cabinet.