Former First Lady Maureen Mwanawasa says her late husband, Levy, was obsessed with law and order because he understood that without it, society would become brutal and ungovernable.
Speaking during Mwanawasa’s 10 memorial service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Lusaka, Sunday, Maureen recalled that her late husband always introduced himself as a lawyer because he believed the legal fraternity had a special role to play in upholding law and order in the country.
“I would not be exaggerating to say that President Mwanawasa was obsessed with law and order. For him, the rule of law was the barest minimum standard needed for society to exist and thrive. He was convinced that unless everybody was equal before the law, society would eventually become brutal and ungovernable. It was with this view that the President thought lawyers had a special role to ensuring law and order in society. It was not unusual for the president, when introducing himself to visitors he was meeting for the first time, I quote ‘I am a lawyer of 32 years standing’. One senior staff at State House once asked him, ‘Your Excellency, why do you introduce yourself as a lawyers when you are Head of State? Surely being president surpasses being a lawyer’. The president’s response was simple, ‘yes I am Head of State but I was a lawyer first. Being president is just a privilege that the people of Zambia have bestowed on me for a period of time. If they wish, the citizens of this country can take this privilege away. What is permanently mine, for as long as I stick to professional conduct, is the fact that I am a lawyer and through this profession, I can serve this country till my death’,” Maureen said.
She urged Zambians to embrace the spirit of reconciliation.
“President Mwanawasa did not talk endlessly about the nobility of the legal profession. He however had great respect for all the other professions that make life complete. The other thing I remember about the president was his deep sense of justice. For him, justice was non negotiable. Let us use the 10th anniversary of our late president for us to reignite our oneness as a country, reignite the spirit of reconciliation, which was one of the major acts he demonstrated when he called upon his brother the late Michael Sata to bury their differences and move on to serve the country,” said Maureen.