CHAMBO NG’UNI, Kabwe
FOR people who knew Evans Shimpano Mutangama, a sports administrator with a vision to see Kabwe become a vibrant economic hub, it is difficult to believe the cold hand of death has snatched him away.
Mr Mutangama, or Evans as his peers fondly called him, died on December 8 in India where he went for treatment for multiple myeloma – a form of cancer of the blood.
Evans, who died at the age of 56, is survived by wife Hilda and four children: Chali, Mangeya, Shimpano and Kangombe.
“Dearest husband, husband of my youth, father of my boys, I could not see this coming. It hurts so much. I will not question God’s time,” Hilda said in her tribute at All Saints United Church of Zambia congregation on Wednesday.
Hilda described the days she spent with Evans in India before his death as the best days of their 26-year-old marriage.
His children eulogised him as a loving and caring father, a hero and selfless person.
Chali, his first born, said Evans believed in everyone and embraced even those who were not his relatives.
Chali shared that one of the greatest lessons he and his siblings learnt from their father was that the richest people are those who invest in the wellbeing of others.
Until his death, Evans was chief financial officer and company secretary at Lunsemfwa Hydro Power Company (LHPC), a firm he joined in 2003 as finance and administration manager.
LHPC director Tarcisio Chanda said Evans was a colleague and brother, and his death has robbed the company and community of a dependable person.
“So it has been a very trying time for LHPC watching him ill over the last few months,” Mr Chanda shared with mourners.
“Even sadder when we expected him to return from India where we expected him to recover.”
Mr Mutangama was also keen to see Kabwe become an economic hub.
He joined Kabwe Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) in 2008, were he served as treasurer and later as president from 2009 to 2011.
He was appointed KCCI trustee in November 4 this year and contributed in transforming the organisation into one of the recognised chambers in the country.
“As a chamber you have to be a source of information about business opportunities in Kabwe. The chamber should provide timely necessary information to investors. This information should be collaborative,” Evans said this during Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Frankfurt Chamber development seminar in May this year.
He challenged KCCI executive committee members to ensure that the chamber was relevant and played its role in attracting investments into Kabwe.
His successor, Sydney Tembo describes him as a hard worker, dedicated and selfless person.
Mr Tembo shared with scores of mourners during a requiem church service that during his presidency, Mr Mutangama transformed KCCI into a formidable organisation.
“We have lost a pillar of excellence because Evans served with distinction at the local and national chamber levels,” Mr Tembo said.
“It was his selflessness that made him go out of his way to raise the profile of Kabwe chamber.”
On the other hand, he had a passion for football. At one time he served as Nkana Football Club chairman and later as Kabwe Warriors Football Club chairman.
During his tenure, Warriors’ performance was average. His focus was also on developing junior teams from which the railway team was to get well nurtured young players to beef up the senior team.
Thus a strategic plan was developed but there was inertia in its implementation until he stepped down, paving for Andrew Kamanga, the Football Association of Zambia president (FAZ).
He may not have succeeded on his vision at Warriors, but this he achieved with Kabwe Youth Sports Academy (KYSA) where he become chairman in 2013.
Single handedly, he sponsored KYSA which has under 12, 15, 17 and 23 teams. The under 23 team in 2014 was promoted to the FAZ Division three, 2015 (Division Two), 2016 (Division One).
In 2017 the young team won promotion to the Super League Division.
Before promotion to the elite league, while kicking a ball on July 27, 2016, Evans injured his spine and this affected his health.
“It’s out of the love of this sport of football that the illness that has taken him away from us today,” Frank Miti, coach and a founding member of KYSA said.
“This occurred when he came to unveil a mini bus for KYSA to players.”
His contributions toward the development of football are not in vain as FAZ has recognised the Liverpool supporter’s contribution to football.
The soccer governing body has honoured him posthumously with a meritorious achievement award.
FAZ committee member Joseph Mulenga said qualifying KYSA was a positive development.
“He had a rare quality of multi-skills and multi-talent, he combined accounts and sports. In Evans, we have lost somebody who is irreplaceable,” his childhood friend said.
Mr Mutangama was a Christian and a member of All Saints congregation where he was involved in different activities.
“He respected God because God was supreme in his life. To lose people like him is a painful thing because we need people like him,” his pastor Reverend Felix Bwalya said.
While Evans achieved the impossible with KYSA, it is unfortunate that he did not live to see the team play in the Super League Division.