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Patrick Mwanawasa: From playboy to national leader

MWANAWASA

DARLINGTON MWENDABAI, Chipata
PATRICK Mwanawasa describes himself as a young man who understands poverty, and quickly brushes off any suggestion that he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.
He has the looks of his father, Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, and has his temperament, too.
Patrick was born on March 8, 1983 in Ndola, to Levy Mwanawasa and Anne Ziba, a retired professional assistant.
He describes his father as a disciplinarian.
“My father wanted me to be a lawyer like him, but I never did,” he says.
Perhaps spoiled by the privileged life of living in State House, Patrick did not pay much attention to books.
“When you look into my academic life, you will see some grey areas,” he says.
“I wanted to be a lawyer but I did not finish my law degree because I was not focused… This is where I missed opportunities. I am sure if my father had not become President, I would have finished my law degree,” he says.
Patrick says he discontinued his studies for a law degree at Hertfordshire International College (formerly HIBT) in London in 2006 because he used to travel a lot with his friends to different cities in Europe, and in the process missed classes to the annoyance of his father.
Later, he decided to pursue a bachelor of business administration at the University of Hertfordshire in UK.
However, he did not complete the course following the death of his father in Paris, France, in 2008.
Patrick was broken, but he also discloses something strange.
“I never viewed the body of my late father,” he says.
He says his last glimpse of his father was at his bedside in a Paris hospital.
“I do not know why but I was impressed with the throng that came to view my father’s body at Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka. I saw how much people loved my father.”
Patrick says he had a wonderful relationship with his father and only remembers annoying him once in 2005 when the country attained the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) debt initiative completion point.
Dr Mwanawasa led Zambia to HIPC completion point, a benchmark requirement set by the International Monitory Fund and World Bank for poor countries to qualify for debt-forgiveness.
As a way to celebrate this achievement, Patrick invited friends to his London hotel room for a party.
But his father was not happy with the free-spending and ordered his son to foot the bill.
“I also reached my own ‘HIPC’ completion point after my father made me pay the bills,” he says.
Patrick also had his upkeep allowance cut by half.
“I paid back the money in full after six months. You know, since that time, I have come to learn that the money was not for me or my father but the people of Zambia,” he says.
Patrick says the challenges he faced in his early life moulded him to be a leader.
“First of all, people do not understand what it is to grow up in an extended family. It is good because I came to learn about my other siblings, but I came also to learn about suffering because I used to draw water for my mother in Ndola’s Ndeke township,” he says.
“Even in high school, I did my schooling in rural Mkushi at Chengelo from 1996-2000. Yes this was a GCSE Cambridge Certificate, but the truth is, I was learning in a bush school surrounded only by vegetation. The good thing I learnt is how to survive in bad times,” he said.
Patrick describes himself as an “average student” although he once came top-of-the-class in history.
He also attended Nkhwazi School, Lake Road and Simba School in Ndola between 1989-1996.
In 2000, Patrick obtained a diploma in business studies (City & Guilds) and also did A–levels at St John’s College, Johannesburg, South Africa where he studied economics, history and psychology.
Patrick is currently pursuing a bachelor of arts in development studies at the Zambian Open University.
He is also involved in business as a consultant for various organisations.
In 2012, he helped build Genesis Global Dealers (GGD) and worked as market officer at Finance Bank in 2008.
Patrick is a single father of two sons, Levy II and Roman.
In 2011, he contested the Kafulafuta parliamentary by-election under the Patriotic Front (PF) but lost to James Chishiba.
President Lungu recently appointed Patrick as deputy permanent secretary for Eastern Province.
He describes his appointment as a “gift from God”.

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