As if he had a premonition of his death, Zambia’s late President Levy Mwanawasa’s pre-recorded a final farewell statement to the nation and left it in his Will.
The Will was broadcast on television Thursday night by state-run Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation in which Mwanawasa appealed to future governments to continue with the fight against corruption that he started.
“I desire that part of my will shall be broadcast on television and radio,” Mwanwasa said in his opening statement.
In the statement, recorded 23 March, 2005, Mwanawasa regretted that he had lost close friends because of his fight against corruption.
He explained that his campaign against corruption was not driven by malice but the desire to improve people’s lives. He said: “I believed that national development could only be sustained if good governance, respect for the rule of law and democracy were encouraged and (not) taken for granted. To spur these virtues, the fight against corruption had to be waged relentlessly and without treating anybody as a sacred cow.
“I regret that in my zeal to facilitate this fight, I lost friendship with a number of some of my best friends and at many times my own life and that of my family members were threatened. I want to assure the nation that no malice or ill will was intended in these initiatives.”
He said his fight against corruption was purely driven by his love for the country and the urgent need to transform it from poverty to prosperity and that he had always been grieved to see so much poverty, hopelessness and anguish in the faces of the children.
Nwanawasa said, in the broadcast, “I do hope that the party, the Movement for Multiparty Democracy, can continue with this vision for our nation pursuing the fight of zero tolerance to corruption … It is my desire that all future governments will continue to wage this fight.
“If in my endeavours to provide only the best for my country I offended some of my compatriots, all I can ask is that they should find a place in their hearts to forgive me as no deliberate intentions to harm their feelings without just cause was intended.
“I am grateful to all of you for giving me the opportunity during part of my life to serve you as President.. It was a privilege which I cherished up to my death .
“To those who attended my funeral and to those who mourned with my family, I say I am extremely grateful to all of you. I am certain that I speak on behalf of my family that their burden had thereby been lightened,” Mwanwasa said in his final farewell statement.
Former president Frederick Chiluba is among senior government officials who are currently on trial on several corruption charges.
Mwanawasa, died 19 August, in Paris, France, where he was admitted after he suffered a stroke 29 June and he was buried in Lusaka Wednesday.