Ex-Zambian President Chiluba Dies

Posted June 18th, 2011 at 4:00 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Former Zambian President Frederick Chiluba died early Saturday at his home in Lusaka. He was 68-years old.

Mr. Chiluba's spokesman, Emmanuel Mwamba, said the country's first democratically elected leader suffered a heart attack after spending most of Friday with members of parliment and his lawyers. Mwamba said Mr. Chiluba became ill Friday evening and died five minutes after midnight.

Mr. Chiluba led Zambia from 1991 to 2002.

In 1990, he helped found the Movement for Multiparty Democracy, leading it to victory the next year in the first multiparty post-colonial elections in Zambia.

The son of a copper miner and former union leader, Mr. Chiluba took office after almost three decades of one party rule by Kenneth Kaunda. He began his tenure by allowing greater political freedoms and liberalizing the country's economy.

But his administration became increasingly bogged down by allegations of corruption and mismanagement. He was also the target of personal criticism for his lavish lifestyle.

After he left office, his hand-picked successor Levy Mwanawasa instituted anti-corruption probes and Mr. Chiluba was charged with misappropriating $500,000 to his personal account, but was acquitted in 2009.

However, state prosecutors also filed civil charges against him in Britain. A court in London convicted him of stealing $46 million in state funds while president of Zambia. He was ordered to repay 85 percent of the money but the court order was never enforced in Zambia.

Mr. Chiluba is survived by his second wife and nine children.