Columnists

Antonio Mwanza born leader

ANTONIO Mwanza

Sunday Profile:
ALVIN CHIINGA, Lusaka
THEY say a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. Indeed, as early as primary school he was given responsibilities of leadership both at school and church. At primary school, he was prefect and at church, he was Adventist youth leader.
Even when he attended university, he was elected president of the student union and since then he has never looked back. In fact, he always aspires to achieve great things in life.
“I have ambitions of being Member of Parliament, serve as a minister or even become President of this country,” he says.
This is Antonio ‘Mourinho’ Mwanza, Patriotic Front (PF) media deputy director. Born 39 years ago, Mr Mwanza says he is a simple passionate Zambian who believes in justice and good governance among other things.
In the comfort of his new office at the PF secretariat, the soft spoken ‘Mourinho’ said he is son of Jason Mwanza and Esther Phiri who are both deceased.
Mr Mwanza says he draws a lot of encouragement from his father who was security personnel who worked for the intelligence and other organisations.
He is the last born in a family of 10, out of which six have passed on.
An ardent Seventh Day Adventist, Mr Mwanza is married to Chanda Chola with whom they have two children, Romeo who is currently at Munali High School and one year- old daughter Chantelle.
Mr Mwanza attended Chilenje South Primary School in 1986 before proceeding to St Luke secondary school in Msoro area, Malambo constituency in Eastern province.
He then went to the University of Zambia (UNZA) where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with Education.
Mr Mwanza says it is whilst at UNZA that he was elected UNZASU president and started having insights of the political world.
“I interacted with people like the leader of the United Party for National Development then Anderson Mazoka until 2009,” he said.
Mr Mwanza also worked with current UPND president Hakainde Hichilema especially when he (Mwanza) was at UNZA before joining the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD).
He also says apart from the political world, he has extensively worked in championing civil society causes such as when he worked as a member of the Grand Coalition and the Oasis Forum among other movements.
He has also worked at ZAMBEEF, Great North Academy, Bauleni primary and DCMD consultancy and participated in the Electoral Commission of Zambia/ UNDP joint programmes on voter education.
Mr Mwanza said he has given talks to several university, and college students on governance matters and has also attended several workshops on the same topic.
“It is this interaction that has made me meet all the republican Presidents that Zambia has had starting from Kenneth Kaunda to the current President of the land,” he said.
Back to politics, Mr Mwanza says his four, year stint at the FDD first as national youth chairperson, and then as party spokesperson and lastly deputy national secretary made him grow in politics.
“I strongly feel that I have been a politician all my life and I have since become good in political party mobilization. I am also passionate about my country,” he said.
Mr Mwanza, who recently ditched the FDD to join the ruling PF says youths should be tools of change and not used to fan political violence.
He urged youths not to misuse social media for propaganda and malice but should rather use it to enhance national building.
He says it is disheartening that unlike what is happening in other countries where social media is used as a tool to promote development, some people in this country are misusing the platform.
Mr Mwanza does not mince his words when it comes to giving advice to youths who are fond of engaging in political violence.
“Have you ever found political heavy weights fighting? Have you seen ministers physically fighting? He wondered.
He said youths need to be involved in governance so that they are seen by those in leadership adding that those that have ambitions to be Presidents should wait until there is a vacancy.
Mr Mwanza said leadership comes from God and as such people aspiring to lead should know that it is not full of pomp and splendour but that of serving people.
When leaving the FDD, Mr Mwanza said, “It is finished! I have done my part. I have put my heart and my soul in this thing and my conscience is clear. And I am sure that any honest human being will be proud of my contributions but I guess it’s time to go. It’s time for new challenges, new thinking and a new dawn.”
But wait a minute! There might be the other side of Mr Mwanza that people ought to know.
When he is not running errands as PF media deputy director, Mr Mwanza ensures that he makes up for his family who he highly talks about.
“They are the ones that have made me what I am, I ensure that I take my family out so that we make up for lost time together,” he said.
Mr Mwanza is a fanatic of music mainly Kalindula, old school hip hop, reggae, country music among other types of music. And to show that he is indeed a music fanatic, Mr Mwanza is a disc key jockey at a local pub in Lusaka’s Helen Kaunda Township.
At this pub owned by Teddy Mayaba, Mr Mwanza plays all sorts of music and is aka DJ Mourinho there. Perhaps one needs to visit this club to have a feel of how this active youth who is involved in myriad things does his thing.
He gets the ‘Mourinho’ nick name from his fervent love for football which is also one of his hobbies.
Mr Mwanza says he has supported the local sport through Madala football in Kalingalinga township while he also organises Christmas and independence tournaments among others in the area.

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