On 24th October, 1964 Northern Rhodesia experienced the first taste of sovereignty and it was the day that ushered in a new nation called Zambia. The flag of the new nation was hoisted high in the national stadium. The hoisting of the new flag of the new nation signified the sovereignty of Zambia. The country had been under British rule but the events of the 24 day of October, 1964 meant the end of British interference on the grounds of Zambia.
Kenneth Kaunda was handed the mantle of leading the new nation. He shepherded the country for 27 years. His presidency grappled with a number of challenges which was expected because the country never had a native at the helm of the leadership tree. He is credited for the many infrastructural projects that his government had embarked on. Notable among these projects are the Tanzania-Zambia Railway line (TAZARA) and Kohima Barracks in Kabwe. He had adopted the Humanism philosophy which meant that human resource was the key cog in the development agenda of the nation.
At the end of the 27 years reign as president, Kaunda was replaced by Fredrick Titus Jacob Chiluba who was a former trade unionist. He is credited for fighting for the reintroduction of plural politics and liberalization of the economy. He brought the open trade market that meant that citizens could do business in an open market economy. He stepped down after a failed third term bid and he was replaced by Levy Patrick Mwanawasa. Chiluba ruled for 10 years.
Levy Patrick Mwanawasa is third Republican President. He is credited for rolling out the fight against Corruption in the Public Service and the winter maize project. It was during his reign that the country’s escalating debt was written off through the Highly Indebted Poor Countries completion point which came to be known as the HIPC completion point. Sadly, he was the first sitting president to die in office when he died at Percy Military Hospital in Paris on 19th August, 2008. He led the country for 7 years.
Mwanawasa was replaced by then Republican Vice President Rupiah Bwezani Banda. Banda came to the top job on the premise of continuity. He was tasked with the responsibility of carrying on with the Mwanawasa vision. His reign is fondly remembered for bringing Mobile Hospitals. The rationale behind the Mobile Hospitals was to take health care even closer to the people. He reigned supreme for three years.
Banda lost the 2011 elections to his arch-political rival at the time Michael Chilufya Sata. An overwhelming vote in his favour propelled Him to State House. He promised to lead the nation on the premise of the Ten Commandments. This was emanating from the fact that Zambia is a Christian nation. He pledged to open up the country through the Link Zambia 8000 project. During the campaigns, he famously coined the slogan of lower taxes and more money in your pockets. Sadly, just like Mwanawasa, he became the second sitting president to die in office. He died in England at King Edward VII Hospital on 28th October, 2014. This was just four days after the country celebrated it’s jubilee that is 50 years of independence.
He was replaced by Edgar Chagwa Lungu who was the Defence Minister as well as the Minister of Justice at the time. He also came to power on the promise of carrying the vision of the late Michael Chilufya Sata. He is regarded as the Jubilee President because he ascended to power in Zambia’s 50th of year of self-rule.