Frederick Chiluba - The Second Zambian President

Early life

Frederick Chiluba was better known as F.T.J among his allies. This stood for Frederick Titus Jacob. He was the second president of the republic of Zambia and he was born on 30th of April 1943.


Frederick grew up in Ndola. He did his education in Kawambwa but didn’t complete it due to his political activities.

His political career started at Atlas Copco where he went to work after completing the rest of his education through correspondence.

Unionism

Frederick Titus ChilubaFrederick Titus Chiluba

Frederick Chiluba’s political activism saw him rise to the position of chairman of the National Union of Building, Engineering and General Workers (NUBEGW).

But his eyes were set on bigger things and he challenged for the post of Chairman of the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), which he won.

When he became chairman of the ZCTU, the government started to notice him. He got into confrontations with the then president Kenneth Kaunda. At one time, he was detained by the government for telling workers to go on strike. He became an enemy of the president. Kenneth Kaunda sometimes called him a political dwarf, referring to his stature of just over five feet.

Politics

When Kaunda’s regime looked like it was on its knees, Zambians from different backgrounds, including some who had been in politics before and new entrants, held a meeting at Garden House Hotel to map out a way forward for the country. The result was the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD).

Later, after being chosen to head the MMD, he went on to challenge Kaunda in the 1991 polls which he won with an overwhelming majority to become Zambia’s second president.

Upon being in office and putting in place his first cabinet, Chiluba went on a wide scale privatization of the State owned companies.

The unlucky ones were liquidated and workers thrown on the streets. He opened up the country to the outside world and the shops got flooded with cheap foreign goods.

The local companies that couldn’t compete went under and the workers joined their fellows on the streets. The rate of privatization and liquidation brought a lot of poverty and crime in the country.

But despite this, he was re-elected in 1996 for a second five year term.

He continued on his path of liberalization. During his tenure in the trade unions, Frederick Chiluba was a firm socialist who only turned capitalist upon assuming power.

After running out of his second term in office, he started campaigning for a third term. However, his bid flopped as the nation rose against the idea. After looking around for a successor, he decided to go for Levy Mwanawasa, who was his first Vice President. Levy Mwanawasa won the elections.

Corruption

But the tide turned against F.T.J. when Mwanawasa accused him and his people in the last government of corruption. The UK court found him guilty on one account but he still continued to plead not guilty on several accounts.

These allegations of corruption even implicated his second wife, Regina Mwanza, whom he married towards the end of his second term.

His court appearances had been affected by the state of his health.

He was flown to South Africa after collapsing and he hadn't been well for some time. He was in and out of the country for medical treatment. He continued to appear in court for allegations of theft and of public funds until the verdict was passed on 17th August 2009. On this date, Frederick Titus Chiluba was acquitted of corruption

However, on 18th June 2011, Frederick Chiluba died. He was just 68 years old.

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