PRINCE Akashambatwa Mbikusita Lewanika says former president Rupiah Banda has left behind a legacy of civility, loyalty and humility.
In an interview, Akashambatwa said Banda was a soft-hearted jovial person and was humble enough to surrender power peacefully and move on.
“The real big part of Rupiah Banda if you care to know is his personal relationship with friends and family. He was soft hearted, he was loyal, he was very mindful and he was very jovial in those personal relationships. What you are in private speaks for what you can be in public. Another lesson, politics should not consume us so thoroughly as if we have no other lives. He was able to be humble enough to surrender peacefully and move on, that was based on the fact that in any case, he had another life. Now, if we have political leaders who have no life except their political ambitions, they will be incapable of imitating him. When he did lose the elections, I think the brightest thing was the fact that the whole country saw how much it pained him, but despite that pain of an unexpected loss, he was able to rise up through his natural humility to be able to accept defeat, congratulate the victor and accept the verdict of the Zambian voters,” Akashambatwa said.
“I think that was one of his greatest moments in his political career. That is really the legacy, you can even say that is the legacy he created because there has never been a smoother transfer of power from one party to the other than that. Even the transfer of power from president Kaunda to president Chiluba was not quite smooth because as you may know president Kaunda did not show up at the swearing in of president Chiluba. It is a hallmark that gives an example which needs to be followed, it is not just a physical thing that you are handing over power peacefully when other signs in your heart, other behaviours indicate the contrary. Even between HH and Edgar, there was a peaceful transfer but there were some rough edges. The spirit of civility in our political relationship is really a basic spirit that he demonstrated in that particular occasion on the transfer of power.”
He said unlike other vice presidents, Banda demonstrated loyalty to his president when he was in that position.
“My relationship with him was that whether we were in the same party or not, our relationship didn’t change. He wasn’t the type of person who changes your dealings because you are in another party. His personality was such that he allowed and facilitated for such relationships to occur, because he still reached out across political boundaries, narrow partisan boundaries. The other aspect of him was that one of my dealings with him politically, I am basically responsible for him becoming vice president. I am the one who went to discuss and to basically bring the attention of Levy Mwanawasa about him, which led to him being a vice president,” said Akashambatwa.
“Now in terms of his vice presidency, one of the things that illustrate his personality is his loyalty to his president. He was a very loyal vice president. He only did what was required of him. He had no personal side agenda as the vice president in his relationship with Mwanawasa. Some of our vice presidents think that immediately you are vice president, you are one place away from the presidency and you start having side agendas, preparing your way to be president even behind the back of the President. Rupiah Banda was absolutely not such a type of a person.”