Book Reviews

“President Edgar Chagwa lungu, the Head of State of the Republic of Zambia receives a signed copy of ‘Against All Odds,’ the latest Zambian political thriller that describes how he rose to the highest office in the land. The book described as a riveting and lucid account of President Edgar Lungu’s rough journey to the Presidential palace is authored by senior Zambian diplomat and award winning former Editor in Chief Anthony Mukwita. The author signed a copy for the exuberant Zambian leader on 6 February 2017 at State House.”

Award winning veteran Zambia journalist Kellys Kaunda reviews Edgar Lungu book.

EDGAR LUNGU, AGAINST ALL ODDS – ZAMBIA’S PRESIDENT EDGAR LUNGU’S ROUGH JOURNEY TO STATE HOUSE, A BOOK BY ANTHONY MUKWITA

This book immortalizes in printed pages one of the most memorable chapters in the history of Zambia; that of the Patriotic Front; and that of the sixth President of the Republic of Zambia. The author had among others taken a front role seat to events that most Zambians alive today had an opportunity to experience and watch from different vantage points. It’s therefore understandable that some of the readers may dispute some facts or the manner of their presentation. However, the first credit to the author is that not only did he recognize the significance of this piece of history but went further by painstakingly putting together scattered events into one whole readable literally work.

From the outset, let me say what the book is not about. The stories associated with Mr. Lungu’s private life that have not found their way in mainstream media but remained in social networks and on bar counters have not been included in the book. This does not appear to be a deliberate attempt on the part of the author to paint President Lungu in saintly colors. Rather, the author wishes to treat the subject respectfully and decently. Secondly, he does not want to immortalize unsubstantiated allegations from which no well-meaning Zambian stands to benefit in anyway.

The book is short especially if you are an avid reader. Perhaps it should be, especially that it is not necessarily a biography of a 60 year-old man that President Lungu is. Instead, it is a book that focuses on events spanning roughly a month, a month that might as well be the defining moment of Mr. Lungu’s political life. The author has selected those facts in the President’s life that help the reader appreciate why he carried himself in the manner that he did during the PF succession wrangles.

For instance, while others expected him to be combative and fight to keep the instruments of power; leave the memorial service in honour of late President Sata to take on Guy Scott who had just fired him from his position as SG or declare himself winner at the Rock of Authority, the author carefully selects those facts that may help explain such calmness in the face of events that would ordinarily send some people into feats of rage.

My take is that the author’s reference to the President’s National Service after completing his form five and his decision to go further in military training after which he studied and eventually practiced law is intended to suggest that the two disciplines must have combined to give him an internal tough personality masked with a totally different image like a camouflaged soldier on the field of battle. Can this explain why his critics do not seem to read him accurately or that easily?

The author includes a chapter based on his interviews with the First Lady whose reflections help shed more light on who the man is. A perspective from a spouse is helpful if you are to deepen your understanding of a personality as important as a Head of State. This effort on the part of the author is an attempt to place in the public domain and especially in the hands of keen followers of politics and political analysts the tools with which to dissect the mind behind the Zambian President.

On the style in which the book has been written, the author has employed vivid wording that has helped bring memories of the events under discussion flooding back in strong currents leaving you either gasping for air or simply smiling because of the literary fashion in which the whole narrative is wrapped. For lovers of literature, you may not really be disappointed. From where the author has left off, others should pick up the challenge and walk us through President Lungu’s journey as Head of State when his tour of duty comes to a close remembering, as Anthony has demonstrated, to select those aspects of his presidency that are relevant to the interests of the public.

In closing, my question is: what is so important about the events captured in the book that they should warrant a place in history? Answers may be diverse. But for me, these events should remind us how close we as a country came to slipping into chaos because of scrambling for power. The lesson then is that ambition for power must be subordinated to the overall needs of the country, the need for peace and stability.

About the Reviewer.

Kellys Kaunda is the former long standing Chairman of MISA-Zambia, the influential media lobby group of Zambia. Kellys Kaunda has been an international correspondent for more than two decades and is perhaps mostly known for being the all-weather Zambian point-man for the Voice of America in the southern African country. Currently, he is a regular socio-economic and political authority and pundit on Zambia’s foremost radio station, Hot FM as well as a well-respected Zambian media analyst.


President Edgar Lungu’s rugged road to State House

…….It is clear his path to victory was a thorny one after you look at the power history of Zambia

 

Author: Anthony Mukwita (2017) Title: Against All Odds, Zambia’s President Edgar Chagwa Lungu’s Rough Journey to State House.

Reviewed by Charles Chisala. Zambia Daily Mail.

‘AGAINST All Odds, Zambia’s President Edgar Chagwa Lungu’s Rough Journey to State House’ is not as ‘rough’ a read as the title categorically suggests. It is perhaps one of the ‘smoothest’ reads I have ever had the privilege to lay my hands on written by a Zambian author. The book, a riveting and fast-paced chronicle of political events that thrust Mr Lungu into State House as the sixth President of Zambia, is clearly a ‘must read’. It has, in my view, all the ingredients that make up a great political thriller of betrayal, greed, resilience, tenacity, power and the sheer will to survive all wrapped in a brutal bare-knuckle political fight that c o u l d otherwise break the weak at heart. Starting with the unfortunate death of President Michael Sata in a West London hospital four days after Zambia celebrated its golden jubilee, the author Anthony Mukwita, takes the reader through a journey of hatred and even deceit that suddenly opens the trusting understated acting President Lungu to the dark forces lurking in the shadows of his political party, the Patriotic Front (PF). The knives are out. A myriad of events unfold all at once and so fast that even he (Mr Lungu) cannot fully comprehend what is happening around him. Firstly, Dr Guy Scott, the Vice-President of Zambia at the time of the death of President Sata, shows openly for the first time that even though he once never complained about being ‘passed over’ for the top job whenever ‘King Cobra’ was out of the country as the ‘rightful number two’, he actually has had his eyeballs on the prize all these years. He despised Mr Lungu immensely for standing in his way.  In the most spectacular ‘palace coup’ since Zambia started keeping political records, Dr Scott’s ‘true colours’ are laid bare when he ‘seizes’ power from Mr Lungu whom the author portrays as “extremely” humble but deeply perceptive and intelligent. If Mr Lungu thought Dr Scott was the only man after the precious Presidency, he would wake up to a rude

shock as almost a dozen more internal ‘frenemies’ sprung up to challenge him to replace President Sata. The author lucidly shows that Mr Lungu is not interested in holding onto power especially if doing so could lead to possible blood-shed and instability. This rare trait wins Mr Lungu immense support and respect among the high and the low of the Zambian society and places Dr Scott under the spotlight as the villain throughout the plot. The Edgar Lungu book is a page turner that at times makes analysis doubly hard because even as a critic, you start to enjoy the read as the author meshes plot after plot in perhaps the fastest paced political thriller in Zambia of all time that I have personally read or reviewed in all the years I have been a journalist. The author  chronicles, in a bid to showcase Zambia as a nation of peace, and Mr Lungu as a political ‘greenhorn’ ostensibly, how the opposition made a huge mistake of underrating the power succession (s) of Zambia starting from President Kenneth Kaunda in 1964 to the unfortunate loss of two heads of State (Fredrick Chiluba and Michael Sata).  It is clear Mr Lungu’s path to victory was a thorny one after you look at the power history of Zambia as outlined by the author in the second chapter of the book. The author slams the brakes at the metaphorical cliff, showing President Lungu realising that he has to stand up and fight for the millions of Zambians who backed his candidature. The lawyer-turned-politician shows what he is made of and the author loses no sight of the man’s character as humble, tenacious, politically cunning and warm-hearted. The opposition discovers this

hidden truth about their ‘weak’ rival too late. Before they know it the man is being sworn in as head of State; he is the winner! For those looking for an entertaining, educative, well presented story line, a tabulation of Zambian political facts in a conversational manner, I recommend ‘Against all Odds

by Anthony Mukwita’ featuring President Lungu. Mr Mukwita combines his red-hot flair, experience and focus to weave the reader through the ruts, ravines, hills and bumps that shape President Lungu’s rugged road to State House. At the end of the book, two lessons unfurl: Edgar Lungu,

the sixth President of Zambia was thrust into the office of the President of Zambia at the most difficult time in Zambian politics. His tenacity and belief in God is written all over the arduous rise like a giant billboard. He did not hunger for power but was almost through divine intervention forced to accept it. Dr Scott allegedly played what the author describes as ‘the most divisive role’ in Zambian politics while Mr Lungu shows that if you have a great appeal to your people and you know them well, you can win their hearts and votes with little or no money. Mr Mukwita’s clever presentation of President Lungu’s humble character through quotes like “I want to be remembered as an ordinary person who became President, a person who brought ordinary characteristics to the office of the President”, is perhaps the icing on the cake in this political thriller. Bear in mind that this is the author’s view of the facts surrounding what he calls the ‘rise and rise of Edgar Chagwa Lungu.’ It presents a great opportunity for literature review and a precious resource for universities.  A rare insight into the life and character of Zambia’s current President is also presented by the author through the eyes of the unassuming, soft-spoken First Lady Esther Nyawa Lungu, who opens up about the love of her life, her heart throb, “friend and husband”. An even deeper insight of Mr Lungu’s humility and humanity, rare among African leaders or those who yield power is cleverly slotted in by the author on page 127 and I quote: “I want Zambians to begin seeing the President as one of them. The only difference is ‘one of them’ is privileged to be at the helm…people must actually feel you are with them and not that you are super human.” This book is professionally presented, almost like a thesis for a university dissertation in political science. It is suitable for both critical and leisure reading. I especially noticed how he fuses in words other than English including the one I liked the most, schadenfreude, a German terminology for ‘malicious joy.’

At the risk of telling you the whole story even before you read the book, I end my review here and sincerely hope that those honestly seeking to record the history of Zambia as a nation and its people will snatch a copy of this great read. CC

Book description: political story, memoir genre, 175 pages available in ISBN below:

  • Hard cover 978-1-4828-7726-7
  • Soft cover 978-1-48287724-3
  • eBook 9781-4828-7725-0 Available in outlets below:
  • amazon.com and amazon.co.uk
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Book Depository UK
  • Book Depository US
  • Orders.africa@ patridgepublishing.com
  • www.sapnaonline. com in India including online libraries in Australia and Nordic countries. President Lungu book is available on 78,000 libraries around the world. Zambian book stores hard copies and soft copies will be available by March 28, 2017 due to time lag in printing and shipping. • Fishpond.com.au in Australia
  • Publisher: Partridge
  • copyright@2017 by Anthony Mukwita

SOURCE: Zambia Daily Mail.

 


Bernadette Deka the PMRC Executive Director of PMRC on microphone. She said the Edgar Lungu book gives a rare insight of President Edgar Lungu as not only a hard core politician but also a soft and kind family man through the eyes of his wife First lady Esther Lungu.

 


President Edgar Lungu in leather coat and cap as his ‘rock’ Esther Lungu the First Lady looks on. The First Lady has let the cat out of the bag on the Zambian President’s softer side in the epic book by award winning journalist and senior diplomat Anthony Mukwita

BOOK REVEALS PRESIDENT EDGAR CHAGWA LUNGU ‘SECRET’ KIND WARM SIDE

EDGAR LUNGU IN THE EYES OF ‘QUEEN’ ESTHER IMPORTANT CHAPTER—A FEMINIST PERSPECTIVE OF PRESIDENT EDGAR LUNGU JOURNEY TO STATE HOUSE BOOK REVIEW BY PMRC ED BENADETTE DEKA

‘WHEN I first embarked upon reading ‘the rough journey’ of President Edgar Lungu to State House following the death of President Michael Sata in 2014 by Anthony Mukwita, my mind was racing in various directions regarding what to expect especially given mixed reviews local and international media have carried recently.’

As an analyst, I was on edge also because I was privileged to have been part of the team that worked for the now first family during those tough times ahead of the polls and the sad days characterised by deep in-fighting in the ruling party after the demise of ‘King Cobra’ mhsrip.

I still recall President Lungu’s resilience and determination as vividly described by the author in his book ‘Against all Odds, President Edgar Lungu’s Rough Journey to State House.’ He was unmovable.

What I cherish most about the story line nevertheless (you can call me an incurable feminist) is the fact that the author Mukwita takes time to present the head of state in the ‘eyes ‘of his wife, the First Lady Esther Nyawa Lungu.

The author brings to life the adage ‘behind every successful man there is a strong woman and Mukwita makes this point clear in the chapter entitled “Edgar in the Eyes of ‘Queen’ Esther.’ A bonus in my view for women scholastic readers and men alike. He has also not ignored the crucial role the first female vice President of Zambia madam Inonge Wina under the chapter “Welcome to the rock” commencing on page 50.

Not only does the author let the First Lady, Madame Esther Lungu, give the reader a candid first hand impression of whom President Lungu is, Mukwita also shows that the First Lady is her own woman.

A woman of substance who often works with vulnerable Zambians and refuses to be caught up in the trappings of the comfort of State House but can get her hands dirty in the name of national service.

This particular quote in reference to Madam Lungu in the book, “notable have been her (the First Lady Esther Lungu) attempts to uplift the livelihood of vulnerable girls and women. Also in such acts as simply mourning with and showing solidarity with ordinary Zambians in trying times,” is uplifting in my view.

The author gives two commodities for the price of one, the story of a tenacious politician, a God fearing family and a stead-fast wife, rock and partner that watches Lungu’s back when he has come from receiving a political bashing. She gives him the comfort and protection only a wife can give. This is remarkable and clever.

In male dominated political genres, authors often gloss over the role of the spouse and in my view they miss the entire plot because if there is anyone who knows a man, a leader for that matter best, it is his wife of many years.

In this case Mrs Lungu is the first person to see President Lungu when he wakes up and indeed the last when he goes to sleep.

If anyone was in doubt what kind of a man President Lungu is, the author (Mukwita) brings it all out in the open when he quotes Mrs Lungu refer to ‘Edgar’ as “a kind and loving man’ who resents all forms of segregation and is a dedicated family man.

“You may know him as the President and Commander in Chief but to me he is just Edgar, a loving and kind man whose heart bleeds whenever he encounters human suffering,” the First Lady says in the book.

Against all odds shows that the man you see in officious suits (Edgar Lungu) and in a pensive moods is but a simple man who eats simple food and lives a simple life in an aura of glamour.

They say if you want to know how the crocodile lives, you must ask the hippos or the fish. The author has spoken to the First Lady here.

Mukwita is a great story teller, for doing what most writers in the past here and abroad have not done—giving Mrs Lungu a chance to share this extremely rare side of the sixth President of Zambia. The softer side, the husband, the father and the grandfather of ten grandchildren.

Perhaps one day, the author or indeed someone else could rise to the occasion and write a story on the First Lady Esther Lungu in order to inspire girls to rise to higher heights despite having humble beginnings.

This book is not a perfect document but then there has never been a perfect book in the history of publications as far as I know from my days at university and I have read many books.

What Mr Mukwita’s book does though is set the tone for debate and records history the way the author recalls it and I must say it is very lucid and conversational. It inspires others to do similar or better works.

The author must be encouraged for this stellar attempt and not be crucified because Zambians need history recorded by fellow Zambians, as much as they need foreign records.

I chose to analyse the feminine side (the First Lady Esther Lungu side) of the book because that I can boast of being an expert at as a woman.

Congratulations Mr Mukwita and God bless you.
Bernadette Deka is the Executive Director of the influential Policy Monitoring &Research Centre (PMRC) of Zambia. She spent a large part of her UNZA student days as a youth activist, has served on committees at NEPAD and AU before heading PMRC. PMRC is a public policy Think Tank that concentrates in four areas: Economic Development, Social Protection, Natural Resources and Environment and Governance.

PMRC also collects every available important printed documents on Zambia and stores it for reference and research purposes. The organisation has purchased dozens of President Edgar Lungu Against all Odds book for its library.

Book details: Copyright@by Anthony Mukwita
ISBN: Hard cover, 978-1-4828 7726-7 Soft cover 978-1-48287724-3, eBook 978-1-4828-7725-0
BOOK AUTHOR: Anthony Mukwita 2017

PUBLISHER: Partridge

 

SUNDAY SPECIAL WITH ANTHONY MUKWITA ZAMBIA’S CDA a.i TO SWEDEN WHO HAS JUST AUTHORED THE MOST TALKED ABOUT ZAMBIAN POLITICAL THRILLER BASED ON PRESIDENT EDGAR CHAGWA LUNGU’S JOURNEY TO STATE HOUSE.

On 12th February 2017, Zambia’s leading writer Anthony Mukwita shared his deep experience on chronicling Zambia’s sixth President Edgar Chagwa Lungu’s journey to State House on the widely followed Sunday interview ON ZNBCTV. During the interview, Mr Mukwita, a gifted orator and writer gave Zambians the first insight of his fast selling book that has become the latest ‘tongue wagger’ in Zambia and beyond. The Edgar Lungu book is a riveting and breath taking tale of a man the Zambian opposition made a deadly mistake to under rate as a political tyro. No one tells the story best like the award winning former Editor-in-Chief and senior diplomat himself. Below is the edited interview between Mr Mukwita and ZNBC’s Grevazio Zulu.

‘Against all Odds-President Edgar Lungu’s rough Journey to State House’.

Grevazio Zulu: Good evening and welcome to Sunday interview with me Grevazio Zulu. Like a fairy tale he came from a relatively quiet background to become one of the most influential, loved and respected leaders. In the wildest of dreams few people including himself could have thought he could lead the country as President, now someone has written a book detailing his rise to power and the secret behind his success. Against all Odds is the latest book on the shelves that chronicles President Lungu’s journey to State House. Today on Sunday Interview I speak to the author of the book Anthony Mukwita, Sir Welcome to the programme.

Anthony Mukwita: Thank you so much for the invitation Grevazio and Happy New Year to you.

Grevazio Zulu: Well, people have known you as a media person, an Editor in Chief, senior diplomat although I didn’t introduce you as Chargé d’affaires of Zambian embassy in Sweden, doubling up all those roles now as an Author, how do you explain this versatility?

Anthony Mukwita: (Laughs) The same way you have explained it Grevazio. It’s a little bit of a complicated collection of paradoxes but yeah I started off as a media person and moving on into diplomacy but if you look at all these aspects (jobs) you have mentioned, in my humble view they are intertwined, writing and selling newspapers and now selling a country and finally writing a book. For the book, I thought of it as something that I will look back at later in life and say ‘I did this thing,’ that’s the reason for that versatility I guess.

Grevazio Zulu: You write quite well and I am tempted to ask because I saw that in your book, some of the people you have dedicated this book to is your Dad and you say he was a lecturer and you say he would have edited your book better, do you attribute some of your qualities that you mention in the book to what he imparted in you as a lecturer and as a teacher?

Anthony Mukwita: Indeed by all means my late Dad (Mr Frederick Lubinda Mukwita) started off as a primary school teacher and educated himself to a secondary school teacher and later a University lecturer at the University of Zambia. At the time he passed on, he had a Masters’ degree. I remember some time we would be in the car, the radio is playing and the DJ says ‘that song was by the late Paul Ngozi and he, my Dad would shake his head and say ‘I don’t know what is wrong with Announcers these days, what do you mean ‘the late Paul Ngozi’. Artists don’t die, what are you telling us? Do you mean that is a ghost singing?”So that is what I meant when I said he would have been my best critic and best editor because he was always a stickler to detail especially when it came to the language pros and cons, that is why I had to mention him in the book.

Grevazio Zulu: Let’s get back to the book ‘Against all odds’, President Edgar Lungu’s rough journey to State House. What did you set out to achieve when you sat down and thought that you wanted to write this book?

Anthony Mukwita: That’s a good question Grevazio, in fact at this very onset I must clarify something, and I’m glad throughout the introduction process you have not referred to the book as an autobiography or a biography because it’s none of the two. It is a factual chronical of events surrounding President Lungu’s tenacious, tough and acrimonious fight to become the sixth President of the Republic of Zambia. I was around when he was simply an ordinary MP in Chawama and an understated deputy minister in the office of the Vice President. I knew him from way back then, and after a year and a half he suddenly became an influential Minister of Home Affairs, doubling up in other roles as the chairman of the disciplinary committee in the ruling party which meant that at some times he had to cross paths even with his personal friends and colleagues in the party. I was also around at the time that within a short space of time, in what has been called the fastest rise and rise in Zambian political history. He became suddenly the Minister of defence. By this time, he had doubled up as acting President, at that time I was editor-in-chief and deputy managing editor and I thought this was an interesting story that needed to be told so I started chronicling things about him. I started talking to people in Chawama, I visited him at his house regularly and would see how people would wake him up as early as 07:00 hours in the morning to visit him and this would go on until mid-night and I thought that he had too much energy this man, which needed to be put in a certain box which would be useful one day. The idea was mooted way back in 2011.

Grevazio Zulu: What was your motivation?

Anthony Mukwita: I think the motivation came at that sad moment on October 28 2014 when President Michael Sata died, May his soul rest in peace. At that time President Lungu was Minister of Defence and acting President and he was also the secretary general. I was at his house when the news of his death spread, that day he left his house with a motorcade and came back later without a motorcade….Power had been taken away from him. That made me start thinking that there was something deeper to this because people were saying why did you give up power? There was no vacancy.

Grevazio Zulu: Did you ask him that question?

Anthony Mukwita: Yes, to say the least , I was shocked and disappointed and his response without letting the cat out of the bag was that he did not desire to destabilise this country and set it into unchartered waters of violence were people may have to die just because he wanted to hold on to power. To begin with he even said at that time that he was not even interested in the power. Whilst the late President was in hospital he and his wife were praying that he should come back and take over as President. He was not some grabby little prince who had his eyes on the prize. He was just somebody that was privileged enough and he made it clear that he would not fight for power, what would you say about someone like that?

Grevazio Zulu: You have said in your book that you don’t know at what point President Edgar Lungu made a decision to be a candidate, do you still not know?

Anthony Mukwita: There were people around him all the Councillors around the country petitioned that look this is the man that was left in charge let him run. A larger percentage of the ruling party (PF) Central Committee petitioned that there should be continuity; more than half of the cabinet ministers said there must be continuity. And in the book it’s no secret that it is Mr Guy Scott who was then the Vice President who took over the helm of power and he decided that whether the past two selections of the party President been via an endorsement or a letter written all a simple affirmation, this time around he said he wanted to play by the book and by the book he meant that he was going to write the book I guess.

Grevazio Zulu: What about the party constitution which had dual provisions (endorsement or election at convention). Someone would call it a lacuna?

Anthony Mukwita: I think so, in legal terms you could call it that but here is the story. They (ruling party) had a choice to say ‘choose Edgar Lungu and let him run as the PF candidate or go for a convention. After he had been left to run the party. Mind you the party at that time was actually broke but Mr. Scott said they would find the money for this important exercise, what he called the ‘interest of intra-party democracy’ and so it happened at that point when he (President Lungu) saw overwhelming support that was coming from the grass-roots. When Edgar Lungu saw the overwhelming support that he was getting from fellow cabinet ministers, then he decided that he was not going to let these people down, even though ‘I am (Edgar Lungu) not interested in fighting for power but these people have seen something in me. At this point I saw him resolved to stand for (Presidency) and all of a sudden he became a changed man, you saw him become more resolute, he came out and started to throw punches, when someone hit him he hit back.

Grevazio Zulu: There are suggestions that probably there was some force pushing him and trying to manage him and putting him at the centre stage?

Anthony Mukwita: The man that you are going to read in this book is his own man, to borrow his own words he says ‘I may speak with a soft voice but I carry a huge stick.’ He actually does carry a huge stick. He is his own man because if he was not his own man as you will see in this book, he would have probably accepted money from other politicians, he decided to play clean.

Grevazio Zulu: Before we get into the book, on your book. People would ask that mostly people write about past Presidents and dead Presidents, you chose to write about a living one who is currently in office. Why?

Anthony Mukwita: That is a million dollar question Grevazio; one of the reasons was infact a direct inspiration from the President himself through private conversations we had. He (President Edgar Lungu) would tell me that ‘Ba Tony we need to cultivate new heroes, more heroes as a country and not just talk about Kalusha Bwalya or Kenneth Kaunda, Yes the Great Kalu is good this is an undeniable fact, he has even won us an African cup. When you talk about politics it’s only about the great founding Father of the nation Dr Kenneth Kaunda. Why don’t we try to cultivate other people so that we can have a larger pool of inspiration? That sort of touched me and I thought I had the power myself to do that, looking at the God given talent I have of putting pros and cons together. I told him (the President) that ‘you know what Sir, you are an interesting man yourself. I said I think the project that I have been doing for a while now, I think I will turn it into a book. I personally don’t want to praise people after they are long gone or dead. Why not do it when you are alive so that you can hear it and take the bitter with the sweet. I want to say Grevazio is a bad person while you are still alive. I want to add to the body of knowledge, I thought we could form a basis for literature review by writing about a person who has had an interesting journey while he is alive. I thought it was ‘too late’ to wait for another time because of the manner in which President Lungu rose to office. The twists and turns were too many the plot was thickening at every corner. I thought the Edgar Lungu story would make a great basis for Literature Review so that my colleagues, other writers, can read and say ‘Mukwita missed out a fact here and there’. That is where I got the inspiration to write about a living President. So that we can discuss him, there is a section at the end were I say the elections were held on 11, President Edgar Lungu was declared president on the 15, the opposition went to the concourt on August 16, the Concourt took two weeks to make a decision and I ask, ‘what kind of Edgar Lungu are we going to see now? Here is one of the few things he did as President after getting his first full five year term. Number one, he appointed an opposition leader the President of the MMD who is the minister of Finance (Hon Felix Mutati), another person who had initially been in the opposition Dora Siliya, he makes her a cabinet minister, were is he going with this? Is he trying to show us that there is no colour in politics, no creed, no tribe? So we are already setting the stage.

Grevazio Zulu: In some instances in your book you have made declarations about the President. Are you not scared? He has only saved two years, are you not scared that some of your statements will be re-written?

Anthony Mukwita: No, no no, I am not scared because we, I have come from a background of news gathering, editing and writing you and I. Sometimes we do some of the worst interviews were you hit your source the most. Sometimes we do some scathing editorial comments in the newspapers which may even hurt some individuals. The day we get scared Grevazio, as members of society to take a position is the day that our society suffers a major setback. I think its Nelson Mandela or someone else who said a man or woman for that matter must stand for something or fall for anything. So like I say at the end of the book, this is my own recollection of events between this period and that period. If there is any omission or error I take full responsibility, if I’m scared then I choose to be nothing, if I’m not scared then I choose to be a part of something much bigger which others can critic and improve on.

Grevazio Zulu: How objective is your book? You are writing about your boss, you write something funny, you are out.

Anthony Mukwita: (Laughs) Objectivity is not something that must be misconstrued for insulting. This book has set a tone on what it is, and what it is not. It is a chronical of events, the bashing, the punches that this particular politician (Edgar Lungu) was involved in, in order to get to this position and it also looks at some major criticism of the character from sections of the media. In this case it is coming from people that probably did not like him. To say that I wouldn’t be objective is a bit way off the mark because the title speaks for itself. We are going to chronical the odds through which this particular candidate went through. In that case there is not much room for non-objectivity.

Grevazio Zulu: Would you write anything negative about your boss?

Anthony Mukwita: Of course I would, why not? If I am fearful to write something negative about him then I am not a true subordinate. It’s there in the book. The publishers themselves came back to me to say we are not seeing this (Some harsh statements on the President) going into the book, it does not serve any purpose it’s a little bit harsh. You know how we operate as the media, we get both sides of the story, and we also have our opinion in the editorial and state clearly that this is our opinion. And I have my opinion in the Preface. If there is not any major criticism that you think I have not put, somebody else should be able to put that across and say ‘Mukwita did not put this in the book. For me I am telling a story as I recall it about a man that received internal opposition before he could face another ten opposition outside the party and become President after campaigning for only 20 days when he could have done that in 90 days.

Grevazio Zulu: You could be accused of putting a subjective truth on paper?

Anthony Mukwita: Like I said it’s a chronical of factual events, unless someone thinks I sugar coated the facts then they are right to think so in any case brother Grevazio, there should be room for criticism. And in any case, anyone that puts up a public judgement must expect that there will be an equal or double reaction to it so we should not fear that.

Grevazio Zulu: Let’s look at your book again, you start your book which has about 147 sections, it’s an Edgar Lungu book but you start with the death of President Michael Sata, why did you decide to do that?

Anthony Mukwita: In my personal view in order to understand as an author, who Edgar Lungu is today, I think is very important to set the tone on where he is coming from, it is very important to show the world the big shoes that this young man out of Chawama, out of Chimwemwe was going into. He was taking on a coat of a giant. Michael Sata was a phenomenon and still remains a phenomenon in Zambia politics, so I had to set the tone of Michael Sata  having been in the opposition for this long…11 years and having taken out a ruling party (MMD) which is very rare in African politics and having decided that among his many disciples, Michael Sata had chosen this young man, who was underestimated, who did not even start of as a front-runner, people like Sylvia Masebo, Wynter Kabimba were in the front roll when this person (Edgar Lungu) who had been with Sata for a long time was simply a deputy minister and all over the sudden that huge omnipotence and Omni present character called Michael Sata, sometimes called the King cobra, mad Mike, he had many names suddenly he died. This understated lawyer and military officer and politician and father is thrust into this sizzling political pot where he has to fit in these shoes. I wanted to run people through this journey in order for them to understand where he was going because if you see at a certain point, he (Edgar Lungu) suffered a lot of barrages, a lot of punches because people were saying he had no vision and the reason they were saying that is because they were comparing him to the vision bearer Michael Sata who had come up with a party called the PF. Michael Sata had a vision and a manifesto and President Lungu was taking over this legacy that is why I thought it was pivotal for President Sata to be featured

Grevazio Zulu: Looking at the book, you present yourself as you write in two persons. At some point you are like an active participant, attending meetings, recording events and at some point you speak like an observer standing very far, writing this book where are you standing?

Anthony Mukwita: I had to split myself in two actually. Lucky enough I think the media training helped a lot because we learn to be detached from issues at some point where we look at facts alone and at some other point we are able to opinionate. So here are the two advantages that I have. I was around when things that people would not know about happened, I’m around and I’m recording history while it is happening and I’m bubbling with that immense need to share it out but when I think of how to share it out without being seen to be actively involved as you have mentioned, that is where I get an Editor. I engaged a very distinguished journalist Mr. Gerald Mulwanda. I looked him up after I finished the book. I know that he was not close to the events that were going on so he would be able to point out my human weaknesses. He was able to pluck out and say ‘this is too close to the subject, this one is too close to you. We have to remove it all frame it in another way in order for your book to retain the objectivity, the finnessity and the professionalism. That is how I was able to play these two roles. In fact it’s because I got someone else who had no interest in Edgar Lungu the President and Edgar Lungu the candidate, who had no interest in my career as a writer, who had no interest in monetary terms, who was apolitical. He simply wanted to be associated with a professional job. So after I get that from a referee standing on the fence to use your words. The book goes to the publishers, note that the publishers have no idea about Zambia or direct interest so they look at things much differently. They have what you call a Content Evaluation team. It’s the same thing that you do when you write a project proposal for a thesis for a doctorate, for a masters, they (evaluators) sit and look at your proposal and examine those two issues that you have raised. They ask is it going to have personal touches or is it going to have the objectivity from a person who is an active player or just an observer. Once they have gone through that three, four times maybe, they agree that all these personal things out. They proceed.

Grevazio Zulu: Which one is your favourite chapter, which one did you enjoy the most writing?

Anthony Mukwita: You are a father Grevazio right? You are a parent, it’s like asking you which one among your children is your favourite.

Grevazio Zulu: There must have been a chapter which you cruised through, what chapter did you enjoy the most?

Anthony Mukwita: There is a chapter where I talked about the day we went for the inauguration, It was a Sunday on January 25, I sat outside the President’s house, he was still staying at the minister of Defences house, it had been a rough 20 days coming to this day, I still recall him (President Lungu) coming out hugged with bags under his eyes coming from a cross-country campaign tour. But this day he is coming out in a blue slim-fit suit, white shirt and I think I mentioned it in the book, he came out with a red neck tie and a little red hanky on his break pocket and he was looking different, because I’m watching him coming out from a door that he came out from when he gave up power and came back without a motorcade and 20, 30 days later this motorcade is back and the man that came out crest fallen is now walking tall. There is a gleaming Mercedes Benz black in colour waiting outside with copper plates, the chauffer opens the door and President Lungu slides in confidently, he wheels off through to Independence Avenue, the opposite direction heading to the stadium. That was a surreal moment. (Mukwita remains silent pensively)

Grevazio Zulu: And it shows in the book, and I know that you were probably swept away by emotions, you push in this very strong description of events about the man. And you say ‘women thought he looked sexy that he was to die for while men wanted to be him and have women die for them… Is that how emotional you got?

Anthony Mukwita: (Laughs) No that is not how emotional I got. I was trying to paint a picture and if I got an emotion out of that picture and if I managed to make You pull out that particular quote from the whole book, then as a Writer I managed succeeded. Things are changing this days there is a certain snazziness, to use the term loosely, as we are talking about a Head of State here but there is a certain sexiness that you also have to put to the leadership, we have moved away from the old school leadership were you feared that leaders would kill you the moment you see them. You couldn’t even talk about leaders in the past because you thought the walls were listening. I’m trying to grab a person that would not normally read a political book or story here.

Grevazio Zulu: I think that was a strong statement coming from you, a very debatable controversial statement people may think?

Anthony Mukwita: No, no, no, I think they (readers) might not think like that. I also think that is why we write these things (stories) and put them out…so that we can put it out there in the open so that people can debate on whether the artist pushed in the envelope or not.

Grevazio Zulu: Did you push the limits?

Anthony Mukwita: Yes, like you are pushing me right now (laughs) you are doing your job. I was doing my job. If you see that section and play it against other sections, such as the section towards the end where Edgar Lungu the President of Zambia was asked, ‘how do you want to be remembered?’ that is where you can see that I have the liberty to push the envelope and the President says unscripted without even thinking about it, he says ‘I want to be remembered as an ordinary guy that brought ordinary characteristics to an otherwise complicated office the office of the President. I want to demystify this office that some people have been thinking is full of myths, am just a simple person who became President.’

Grevazio Zulu: There is a chapter in your book about him trying to fight off his enemies and trying to get this position in the party. You singled it out as The GBM factor, is there a particular reason for that?

Anthony Mukwita: There is a great particular reason for that, one of the reasons GBM Factor is explained is that at a certain point both men were Ministers of Defence, at a certain point GBM was one of the ten that were fighting for the position of president in the ruling Patriotic Front. At a certain point everyone fell in line and rallied behind Edgar Lungu and they said they were going to support him for the Presidency of the Patriotic Front and Zambia, serve for this gentleman who we know has now become an opposition leader and perhaps one of the biggest critics of President Lungu. I want to draw that analogue because if I left it out, in my view I thought people would think I was avoiding certain subjects for one reason or another. They would say I was denying them a certain piece of history. And I have pointed out that while people surrounding him (President Lungu) wanted him to meet GBM, he said I don’t want to meet him, why I should meet him. All those that were in the race had come in the spirit of unity and said that we will work together, if I get out of my way to set a meeting with him, I will be compromising a position on behalf of these people, all these great followers that have decided that they want to work together with me. If he wants, nevertheless let him come. Others would even say but you know he has money and things like that and Edgar Lungu said ‘I don’t want his money, you people do not know me, and do I look like a guy who wants money? I don’t want money, if we are going to lose the election, let us lose without the money, if we are going to win, let’s win without the money (nabapina baliyapo ku state house). That is what he would say. If the people want us, they will vote for us, if they don’t, they won’t. I don’t want people to hold me at ransom at one point or another.

 

Grevazio Zulu: In that same chapter you seem to suggest that you needed state support. You also stated that Scott tied the tap of resources for Lungu and these were government coughers

Anthony Mukwita: No, no, no we did not expect him to open the treasurer like here is a blank cheque. There is a certain privilege that the incumbency enjoys that Edgar Lungu did not enjoy as a person who was in the ruling party. You will run anywhere in the United states or the United kingdom, there is a political system and there is a second term, the person in the incumbency is supposed to enjoy a little privileges such as the jet for assignments, the car that he uses in his normal assignments, this was not for Edgar Lungu, which was very strange, he did not have any of that. He was supported by friends and family and relatives and people that saw him as this victim, as this person who was pushed in a corner by somebody in this case Guy Scott, who said on my watch, this person should not become President and it was not just pointing at that, it’s a fact that Guy Scott did show his open contempt for president Lungu when he fired him and later re hired him and it’s not just a claim, these are simple facts. He showed that he had immense contempt for Edgar Lungu when he was the chief justice.

Grevazio Zulu: In your book I must say you have stated so many wars, you have tried to paint Guy Scott and in one of the chapter you call Guy not scot free. What’s the significance of that plot?

Anthony Mukwita: That’s a play on words, I have drawn an analogue on what Guy Scott clearly did in order to show his contempt , in order to show that on his watch Edgar Lungu does not have an easy walk so many people were wondering when the axe was going to fall on Guy Scott now that Edgar Lungu was president, many people were wondering whether he was going to suck him but behold Edgar Lungu’s basket of tricks is so full, he shocked us all again when he offered Guy Scott a job as a minister but he did not pick it up so eventually he had to fall out, enough is enough he had to fall out of the race, he was no longer in contention that is where the chapter headline reads the Guy not scot free, it’s like from and the guy went scot free and stuff like that.

Grevazio Zulu: Page 27 you accused the UPND Hakainde Hichilema to fly undisclosed voting areas, you further accuse Guy Scott again of accusing of being restricted to fly in certain areas. You say that the attempt was thwarted by alert ZAF officers. Guy Scott was commander in chief, ZAF thwarted the plane.

Anthony Mukwita: I probably should have used another word, the electoral laws in Zambia clearly stipulate that on the last day of campaign by 18 hundred hours, on this particular day it was the day when woodlands stadium rally. On that last day according to the laws of Zambia nothing should appear as if there is any campaign at all, everything should be low key after 18 hours, so Hichilema and his crew wanted to fly into arear unknown after 18 hundred hours. I have stated that he was going to campaign but that it was against the law. And ZAF didn’t want people to break the law because the back would fall on them. It’s the same thing that happened when we went to the Mulungushi rock authority, you remember very well you covered on November 30, the Mulungushi rock of authority election that elected Edgar Lungu, the next Monday you were covering another one that that was going on the other side, what stopped ZNBC, in fact ZNBC is part of my book my brother Richard Mwanza, ZNBC stops airing the event because there was an injunction that was saved. If ZNBC had continued to air the parallel conference they would have been in contradiction and in contempt of court.

Grevazio Zulu: In one of the chapters you say that for Edgar Lungu winning the election was a fore gone conclusion because he was a household name in and out of the party. The result speak differently, it was 48 against 52 percent, not so wide a margin what do you think happened?

Anthony Mukwita: What I think happened is the events that led to the election of Edgar Lungu was responsible for that margin. Edgar Lungu had only 20 days to campaign Grevazio, that is why am saying it is Against all Odds that he became the President of Zambia. Who becomes President after campaigning for 20 days only?

Grevazio Zulu: At some point you talk about Edgar Lungu and his family and his children, Tasila to be specific and not other children. Time?

Anthony Mukwita: Indeed, perhaps another time we will give that a major thought but the reason I single out Tasila is because out of the family of all the great children of the President, she has chosen to walk into the path of her father at a very rare and young age. Political path.

Grevazio Zulu: As we wind up the interview I would like you to deal with two issues, how does ‘Against all Odds’ fit into the greater scheme of things of your being a senior diplomat and briefly about Zambia relations with Sweden?

Anthony Mukwita: I think humbly as a diplomat I feel I have now broken out into the ranks of not only selling Zambia a country of 15 million people, of not only selling Edgar Lungu the President of 15 million people alone. We have now put Edgar Lungu on the largest book self in the world, he is on amazon.com, we have now put Edgar Lungu on the largest book store on Barnes & Noble, Book depository UK and USA. When people want to read something about Zambia, they can now punch in Anthony Mukwita and Edgar Lungu book and easily know about our major challenges and achievements at a click of a button. To me this is a major diplomatic coup ever personally in my humble view.

Grevazio Zulu: Zambia Swedish relations?

Anthony Mukwita: Zambia Swedish relations have never been better, just last week we had a high powered delegation led by Business Sweden which is an organisation which connects companies from Sweden to companies and countries abroad and they want to invest big time in energy and transportation sector of Zambia. In my view if people are willing to come and pump more than 300 million dollars $500 million, perhaps the largest investment this country has seen between Zambia and Sweden since 1964, it means we are moving in the right path.

Grevazio Zulu: Mr. Mukwita, it’s been a pleasure having you on the programme.

Anthony Mukwita: It’s always good talking to you Grevazio. Especially that you are ever so kind to me.

——————————————————————————————-

Book details: ‘Against all Odds-President Edgar Lungu’s Rough Journey to State House’

Pages: 175 available in paper back and hard cover including eBook via amazon.com and Barnes & Noble and Bookworld in Zambia country-wide.

Publisher: Partridge.  Author: Anthony Mukwita@copyright January 2017

 


Award winning author Anthony Mukwita autographs a copy of his book for Zambia’s Finance Minister Mr. Felix Mutati from his Stockholm office recently.


President Edgar Lungu bows down to pray during his recent pilgrimage of Israel. The Zambian head of state has been described by the author in the book as a devout practicing Christian. President Lungu has declared 18th October as National Day of Prayer for Zambia.

LITERATURE: Exclusive Books SA warms up to Edgar Chagwa Lungu

Zambia’s President Edgar Chagwa Lungu’s Rough Journey to State House has continued to make global literature waves and hit the South African markets with the largest bookstore ‘Exclusive Books’ stocking the popular book in its cache of international titles.

According to Books Exclusive website, the popular political thriller published by Partridge on 5 January is available to order and delivery within a period of between 10 to 15 days for the South African market and copies are already flying off the proverbial shelf.

Authored by award winning descriptive writer and senior diplomat Anthony Mukwita, the Edgar Lungu story has been described by reviewers as a ‘nail biting tenacious journey’ of a once under-stated Zambian politician that gave up power just to win it back in a 20 day gruelling national campaign. He shocked his opponents by repeating the feat a year and eight months.

Book stores in Zambia will have the book in less than 20 days of this month of March according to the author Mr. Anthony Mukwita.
‘Against all Odds-President Edgar Lungu’s rough Journey to State House’ is already on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book depository UK and USA to mention but a few for online orders.

It is Mr Mukwita’s first book and also the first book in Zambia of a serving Zambian President, making it a unique take on political history.

South Africa has a huge literature and arts market and it looks like Mr Mukwita has penetrated it with his Edgar Lungu tale against all odds. Below is Exclusive Books link in South Africa. http://www.exclusivebooks.co.za/books/Against-All-Odds-Zambias-AuthorAnthonyMukwita/000000000100000000001000000000000000000000000009781482877243/

Author: Anthony Mukwita ISBN: Hard cover, Soft cover and eBook: 978-1-4828-7726-7

978-1-4828-7724-3 and 978-1-4828-7725-0

Publisher: Partridge


LITERATURE: Exclusive Books SA warms up to Edgar Chagwa Lungu

Zambia’s President Edgar Chagwa Lungu’s Rough Journey to State House has continued to make global literature waves and hit the South African markets with the largest bookstore ‘Exclusive Books’ stocking the popular book in its cache of international titles.

According to Books Exclusive website, the popular political thriller published by Partridge on 5 January is available to order and delivery within a period of between 10 to 15 days for the South African market and copies are already flying off the proverbial shelf.

Authored by award winning descriptive writer and senior diplomat Anthony Mukwita, the Edgar Lungu story has been described by reviewers as a ‘nail biting tenacious journey’ of a once under-stated Zambian politician that gave up power just to win it back in a 20 day gruelling national campaign. He shocked his opponents by repeating the feat a year and eight months.

Book stores in Zambia will have the book in less than 20 days of this month of March according to the author Mr. Anthony Mukwita.
‘Against all Odds-President Edgar Lungu’s rough Journey to State House’ is already on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book depository UK and USA to mention but a few for online orders.

It is Mr Mukwita’s first book and also the first book in Zambia of a serving Zambian President, making it a unique take on political history.
South Africa has a huge literature and arts market and it looks like Mr Mukwita has penetrated it with his Edgar Lungu tale against all odds. Below is Exclusive Books link in South Africa. http://www.exclusivebooks.co.za/books/Against-All-Odds-Zambias-AuthorAnthonyMukwita/000000000100000000001000000000000000000000000009781482877243/

Author: Anthony Mukwita ISBN: Hard cover, Soft cover and eBook: 978-1-4828-7726-7
978-1-4828-7724-3 and 978-1-4828-7725-0
Publisher: Partridge


Kalusha Bwaya in T-Shirt shakes hands with author Anthony Mukwita, a personal friend, after the award winning author signed some copies for the greatest Sports icon and legend in Zambia at Book World in Lusaka recently. Kalusha is a highly decorated Soccer legend who has won zambia its first Africa Cup in 2012. He passed through to buy copies of Against all Odds.

The author Anthony Mukwita signing his hot selling book for President Edgar Chagwa Lungu’s daughter Tasila Lungu. Ms Lungu has decided to walk the hard political path like her father.

Anthony Mukwita hands over a signed copy of his hot selling book to Amos Chanda in blue jersey during a special signing event at Book World in Lusaka recently. Chanda, is President Edgar Lungu’s Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations and spokesman.

LITERATURE: Mr Amos Chanda, President Edgar Lungu’s Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations has given award winning author Anthony Mukwita’s new book, ‘Against all Odds-President Edgar Lungu’s Rough Journey to State House a scholastic and intellectual spin. Here’s a summary of Mr Chanda’s statement published by the Times of Zambia and Zambia Daily Mail news section on 13th March 2017.

Mr. Amos Chanda, President Edgar Lungu’s Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations has placed his literally weight behind the latest Zambian political thriller penned by senior diplomat and award winning author Anthony Mukwita entitled Against all Odds.
Mr. Chanda who also doubles as the Presidents spokesman described the book as “a positive step in the right direction as far as adding to the Zambian body of knowledge and literature is concerned.”
“The book (Against all Odds-President Edgar Lungu’s rough journey to State House) compiles facts and details and presents them in a certain professional manner that the writer in this case Mr. Anthony Mukwita, recalls them.”
Mr Chanda said Mr. Mukwita, once having presented his facts and figures as he recollects them, has succeeded as a documentarist and historian.
It is now up to other writers in Zambia and beyond to come up with their own versions of the story and facts if they have any, and had the ability to document history as professionally as Mr Mukwita has succinctly and lucidly.
That is if they are in deep disagreement with the authors take on the stated events advised Mr Chanda.
Putting up another version would add to the literature table and pool in Zambia he added.
“If you do not agree with Mr. Mukwita’s story of President Lungu which really is a narration of the Presidents life leading to the crucial 2015 polls and not a biography or autobiography, you can write a review in support or against but based on facts,” said Mr Chanda
Mr. Chanda, an award winning southern African writer and former Editor himself said such “intellectual discourse and arguments around a scholastic publication must be allowed in order to build on what Mr. Mukwita has written for the future generation to be enriched through literature and body of knowledge of Zambia and leaders such as President Lungu.
This was the first time the exuberant and literally savvy former Features Editor of the Zambia Daily Mail and diplomat was giving his official take on Mr Mukwita’s chronicle of President Lungu’s tenacious political story since it started flying off the Zambian book shelves selling more than 100 copies in just under two hours on the first day on 11th March 2017.
“With reviews and other books on the character, in this case President Edgar Lungu book by Mr. Mukwita,” Mr. Chanda said, “we are slowly building literature review to be used and tapped into by other aspiring writers.”
Mr. Chanda, who has not ruled out writing a book himself said, “there might be another book on President Lungu by a different author (s)…there can be several breaths of truth on the same subject and character.”
He said authors such as Mr. Mukwita and others must be encouraged to document the history of Zambia and its leaders so that Zambians can make decisions based on various pieces of information documented by various Zambians, critical or otherwise.
Mr. Chanda added that the fact that many people are discussing Mr. Mukwita’s book featuring President Lungu simply means that a huge black-hole of Zambian literature was absent on the shelves and that if it was available, Zambians would consume it.
He was speaking at Manda Hill Book World in an impromptu media interview on the side-lines of ‘Against all Odds’ signing event by the award winning author and senior diplomat Anthony Mukwita on Saturday. Mr Chanda bought more than a dozen personal copies of the book.
“I need to give copies to other colleagues because I know they will be asking for it,” said the Presidential aide.
Nkolomba Ward Councillor and daughter of President Lungu the enchanting Tasila Lungu is one of the many people that had copies of the latest book signed for them by Mr. Mukwita ahead of others such as Kalusha Bwalya, the sports icon and legend of Zambia. Kalusha won Zambia its first ever Africa Cup Championship in 2012.
Mr. Mukwita’s political page turner has kept Zambian tongues wagging since the day it went live on amazon.com and Barnes and Noble on 5th January 2017.
It sold more than 100 copies in less than two hours on the first day it hit Zambian shelves with hard copies.
It is tipped to be an African best seller by the publishers Partridge due to the interesting character of President Lungu seen by many as a humble but tenacious man who rose to power against all odds, but also because he is serving head of state.
Mr Mukwita is a winner of a World Bank 2012 Investigative Journalism who has written widely locally and abroad. He is also a Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ) Alumni of 2012.
Mr Mukwita also holds a Master’s Degree in Communications with six distinctions and currently serves Zambia in the capacity of Charge d’ Affaires in Stockholm, Sweden.
He is also the former Managing Director of the largest selling daily newspaper in Zambia, the Zambia Daily Mail.
The award winning writer commenced his Edgar Lungu book project way back in 2014. He describes it as a book about a ‘great people of Zambia and the great democracy brand of Zambia.’


With Zambia’s High Commissioner to the UK HE Muyeba Chikonde who accompanied author Anthony Mukwita to the prestigious London International Book Fair.

Author, diplomat Anthony Mukwita takes HE Edgar Lungu story to London against all odds, breaks more literature barriers again

“Against all Odds,” the book chronicling President Edgar Lungu’s journey to State House hit yet another literature home-run when it became the first Zambian book to be exhibited at the London International Book Fair (LIBF) in Hammersmith last week.

Details on the fair guide of the LIBF show that the political thriller authored by award winning writer and senior diplomat Anthony Mukwita is among the more than 20,000 international titles exhibited at the prestigious literature fair from more than 220 countries around the world.

Mr Mukwita who was entered in the fair by the publishers Partridge described the new development as “enthralling and more than I really bargained for when I sat down to document our President’s tenacious rise to high office. It is as humbling and as interesting as the character in the book.”

The non-fiction political book is set in the backdrop of the death of President Michael Sata in a West London hospital that suddenly thrust Lungu, a man the opposition made a huge mistake to rate as a tyro according to the author.

The Zambia author said breaking into the LIBF creates yet another niche for Zambia to increase its diplomacy via literature and continue show casing the southern African country and it’s a leadership through Mr Lungu as a budding democracy while President Lungu continues to be an ‘inspiring’ personality in the book.

Against all Odds-President Edgar Lungu’s rough Journey to State House has already shattered various international literature boundaries and is showing no signs of slowing down as the demand rises for a wider global readership according to the Publishers.

The London book fair ran from March 14 to 16 and attracts some of the best titles published every year globally.

It has been a centre piece of global literature for 46 years now and Mr Mukwita said, “It is an honour to have my President and my country exhibited to the world. To see the book on the shelf in London with President Lungu staring right back at me was something else.”

Mr Muyeba Chikonde, Zambia’s High Commission to United Kingdom said, “Anthony needs to be encouraged and I hope his work will inspire others to write about Zambia on various fronts.”

The Zambian High Commission said in the past it was said if you wanted to hide something away from an African, you put it in a book, “but we now have our very own Zambian writer and diplomat penning something of international acclaim. Mr Mukwita needs our support and he shall get it.”

The publishers, Partridge say that against all Odds could be exhibited in the forthcoming Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany, New York Pitch Festival as well as the Beijing Book Festival by the end of the year.

It’s a great international title Partridge say that could be an African best seller buoyed by the fact that it features a serving head of state that has won elections convincingly twice in 20 months.

It is a book about an African democracy uniquely Zambian and a man of humble beginnings Edgar Lungu who became President Against all Odds, Mr Mukwita said.

SOURCE: Zambia Daily Mail newspaper. Image courtesy of High Commission of Zambia in London with backdrop of the most talked about book in Zambia on the shelf.


President Edgar Chagwa Lungu admires a book written by Mr Anthon Mukwita with Chinese Ambassador to Zambia H.E. Mr. Yang Youming called on him at State house on thursday March 23-03-2017 – Picture by Eddie Mwanaleza/Statehouse.

LITERATURE DIPLOMACY: President Edgar Chagwa Lungu receives the newest novella couched around his tenacious political life penned by senior diplomat and award winning author Mr Anthony Mukwita. This is when the Ambassador of China to Zambia His Excellency Mr. Yang Youming called on the Zambian President at State house on Thursday 23 March 2017 and presented H.E Lungu with a copy of the most trending political thriller in Zambia. Literature has over the years been known to break global barriers, perhaps as much as art, music and films have- Picture  by Eddie Mwanaleza, State House@2017


DR GUY SCOTT’S DARK SIDE REVEALED IN ANTHONY MUKWITA BOOK

BOOK REVIEW BY SUNDAY CHANDA

 

I have known Anthony Mukwita for a lot of things in Zambian media starting from being an innovative journalist that could push the envelope and create some of the sauciest newspaper headlines to being an academic and a consummate diplomat.

Today, however, I feel he has redefined himself to perhaps being one of the bravest novelists and documentarists Zambia has had in recent history.

I base my opinion on his depiction of former vice President Guy Scott in the thrilling political book Against all Odds-President Edgar Chagwa Lungu’s Rough Journey to State House.

In this book, the author exposes the man we know today as Guy Scott in a shade previously unknown. A political villain of sorts.

Mukwita cleverly shows the immensely divisive role, Dr Scott played in the 2015 Presidential election following President Michael Chilufya Sata’s death on 28th October 2014 and his open contempt for Edgar Lungu esq.

The author doesn’t miss out the messy and hasty plan to grab power from a hapless Edgar Lungu who was then the rightful and legal acting President of Zambia.

I note with interest, the dimension by the author emphasizing that Acting President Edgar Lungu was holding onto the instruments of power from the Scott camp.

Maybe the author should have probed further whether the “forceful” transfer of power the next morning after President Sata death was above board or not. Maybe in his revised edition, Mukwita would answer some ‘mystery’ questions: did the Attorney General at the time Musa Mwenye and former Vice President Guy Scott abrogate the law as per Article 36 of the 1996 Constitution?

Did the Constitution at the time permit for the acting President to cease performing the functions of President without being informed by the Speaker of the substantive President’s return?

Was there any provision in the law providing for the handing over of power by the acting President to anyone else apart from either the substantive President or indeed an elected President?

 

This was crucial to dissect because when late President Michael Sata left the country for the United Kingdom, the nation was informed that he was going for a routine medical check.

Clearly under that law, President Sata left the country under the then Article 39 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia which deals with Discharge of functions of President during absence, illness etc.

Under this provision, the Acting President could only hand over the instruments of power upon the return of the President, or upon the election of a substantive President.

It did not provide for anywhere that the instruments of power shall be handled to another Acting President.

The question which this great book should ask is what happened to the law on that particular morning? Was it breached?

Lungu wakes up to the fact that not everyone in the PF is his friend in a section the author calls ‘The Candidate and the frenemies’ and alas Scott leads the pack of the ‘United Hates of Edgar Chagwa Lungu.’

Absent in the book in my view are the reasons for Scott’s immense dislike for Edgar Lungu whose reluctant ambition to go to State House are to use Mukwita’s lucid description ‘monkey-wrenched’ at each turn with apparent glee by Scott and friends.

This starts from Scott insisting that the broke ruling party must hold a convention for Lungu to contest against nine other internal ‘enemies’ even as opposition maestro HH stocked up on political canons and dug holes around the PF.

Edgar Lungu was standing on quick sand but Scott kept hitting at him including firing him from the position of General Secretary President Sata stripped of Wynter Kabimba and bestowed onto him (Lungu.)

The author also shows Scott’s immense hatred for Lungu when the estranged vice President also writes the Chief Justice to stop Lungu from filing in papers as the candidate of the ruling PF.

As you read Mukwita’s page turner, you wonder when Scott is going ease the heat on Edgar Lungu who has now gained a huge national following but alas Scott like a restless ghost keeps stealing Lungu’s sunshine right to the very end of the election relentlessly according to the book.

At the end of the book, you ask yourself some questions?

Why did Scott get out of his way to stop Lungu from being the PF president and indeed president of Zambia?

Would Scott have gone to similar breaths and lengths to stop Wynter Kabimba if he had been the one acting President?

Was Scott’s resentment exclusively for the man of the people from Chawama and Chimwemwe—Edgar Lungu?

In great pieces of literature I have read and reviewed during my university days, there often is a villain and a protagonist to keep the story running.

Author Anthony Mukwita passes this literature test by show-casing Scott as the arch-villain.

You must be familiar with villains such as Shere Khan from The Jungle Book stories by Rudyard Kipling? If you are, you will recall that Shere Khan’s sole purpose in life was to lure the innocent boy Mowgli and eat him up.

Or perhaps you recall O’Brien from ‘1984’ the dystopian novella by the celebrated George Orwell.

O’Brien is a cynical and intelligent villain perhaps remembered more for the quote: “One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.”

It is all about the villain and the protagonists in the examples I have given above as much as it is in Against all Odds (The Good Guys and the Bad Guys) which sometimes I think should have been the battle between Edgar Lungu and Guy Scott.

Anyhow, Mukwita makes my day, as a reader who followed the events leading to President Lungu’s election closely, so therefore I believe I speak for many readers when I say the “evil dude hit parade of literature” could not be complete in Against all Odds-President Edgar Lungu’s Rough Journey to State House if the author neglected to show the deeply divisive role Scott played and his immense hatred for Lungu.

Read the book and you will learn a lot on how to tell a story and create a plot within a plot if you are an aspiring writer.

If you are a historian, here is a piece of history set in modern Zambian times waiting to be peer reviewed.

At the end of the book, I ask again, “why did Scott play super villain against Edgar Lungu?”

Perhaps, the author Mukwita will tell us more about that in another book.

For now, I close the end page with a sigh of relief that the protagonist, the man fired and re-hired Edgar Lungu gets sworn in as President of Zambia against all odds on 25th January 2015 and proceeds to clinch his first full five year term in 2016. The stone that Scott had refused becomes the head corner stone.

I also observe that Mukwita doesn’t lose sight of the positive role Scott played in getting PF into office with his friend President Sata, before he turned rogue that is. This is commendable.

Against all Odds is a captivating book I would not hesitate to endorse while Mukwita tells the story like no other author can in my view.

 

About the reviewer: Sunday Chanda has a law degree University of Lusaka and has written broadly locally and internationally on various socio politico economic and legal issues. He has worked as Programme Development Manager, Centre for Leadership Development, University of Pretoria; Programme Development Manager, Afrika Leadership Development Institute, Pretoria, South Africa (a multi-university initiative); He also holds a Certificate in Asset Based Community Development from St. Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Mr Chanda is a local pundit who at the time of review was pursuing a Master of Science in Project Management with University of Lusaka.

 

Book details

Publisher: Partridge
Author: Anthony Mukwita
Pages: 175
Formats: Hard cover, Soft Cover and e-books
Available: Bookworld Zambia, Amazon and Exclusive Books South Africa
Language: English
Genre: Political, biographical and thriller.



Award winning author Anthony Mukwita stresses a point at a book speaking event in Stockholm, Sweden recently.

EDGAR LUNGU STORY GETS ‘FIVE STAR’ INTERNATIONAL RATING BY TOP REVIEWER
Against All Odds, Zambia’s latest political thriller has received its first international ‘Five *****Star’ rating from influential book reviewers Clarion and Foreword according to latest information posted on the agencies website.
FOREWORD and Clarion conduct independent and professional reviews on international book titles published globally every year in various categories.
The book authored by senior diplomat and former Editor in Chief Anthony Mukwita has already received scores of ‘thumbs’ up locally but the Clarion Five *****Star is the first international rating it is getting as it continues to break international literally barriers.
It’s also the first Zambian book by a Zambian author to get the highest rating in an independent international review on record.
Ella Vincent, a season professional reviewer said the Zambian political thriller has also passed the international appeal test even though some of the politicians featured in it are not yet known outside Zambian borders.
“Even though these politicians (in the book) are not widely known outside of Africa,” Vincent writes in part, “the competitiveness and in-fighting of the elections makes Against All Odds a universal political tale.”
BELOW IS THE FULL UNEDITATED REVIEW FROM CLARION INCLUDING WWW LINK
Reviewed by ELLA VINCENT

April 3, 2017 *****CLARION
In telling the story of how Lungu calmed the volatile transfer of power in Zambia, Against All Odds is an engaging political biography.
Against All Odds is an enlightening biography of the president of Zambia, Edgar Lungu. Zambian journalist Anthony Mukwita details the life of this dedicated leader and his political foes. If the political tell-all Game Change had an African counterpart, Against All Odds would possibly be that book.
Lungu was a successful lawyer in the southern African nation of Zambia until he served as minister of defense under President Sata. After the death of the long-time president in 2014, Lungu decided to run for president, but faced opposition from opponents alleging fraud in the election. Despite the controversy and political rancour, Lungu became the new leader of Zambia in 2015 and was re-elected in 2016.

Mukwita effectively details Lungu’s improbable rise to power. Defying the stereotypes of an African dictator, Lungu became the leader of Zambia in a peaceful, but turbulent, election. Mukwita also writes about Lungu’s accomplished life leading up to his career in politics, along with Zambian political history. The ideas within the biography are original, with detailed descriptions of the elections in Zambia through all the recounts. It is part biography, part gossipy political tale with interesting tidbits about Lungu’s political rivals.
The book is well researched, with newspaper articles and radio interviews serving as original source material. The images throughout the book add depth, and include election ballots and photos from Lungu’s trips as president in Zambia and abroad. Against All Odds also contains helpful time lines of Lungu’s career and Zambian political history.
As a point of comparison for international readers, Mukwita effectively parallels the Zambian elections to the highly competitive 2008 primary campaign between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The drama of the Zambian election is similar to previous American elections, which could widen the book’s readership to include political biography aficionados. Even though these politicians are not widely known outside of Africa, the competitiveness and infighting of the elections makes Against All Odds a universal political tale.
The book is well organized, with a table of contents that moves from Zambia’s past to Lungu’s present as leader. Book sections are meticulously arranged, from Lungu’s rise to power to the probable future political career of Lungu’s daughter. The book seamlessly connects Lungu’s tough-as-nails professional life at the beginning to his more sensitive personal life as husband and father at the end. Mukwita shows the multidimensional side of Lungu throughout the book, from a hardened military leader to a president meeting the pope.
In telling the story of how Lungu calmed the volatile transfer of power in Zambia, Against All Odds is an engaging political biography.
https://www.forewordreviews.com/reviews/against-all-odds/



Dr Fred Mtesa in his review notes the deep challenge author Anthony Mukwita must have experienced, chronicling a serving President. Dr Mtesa however commends the author for providing a starting point for others that want to write about Zambia and or President Edgar Lungu in future.

Dr Fred Mtesa analyses mixed reactions in Anthony Mukwita book on President Lungu
The recently published book entitled Against all Odds, Zambia’s President Edgar Chagwa Lungu’s Rough Journey to State House chronicling the events leading to the ascendancy of Edgar Chagwa Lungu as the sixth president of the Republic of Zambia has been received with mixed reactions.
The author, Anthony Mukwita, is Zambia’s Charge d Affaires’ in Stockholm, a participant in, and one of the key eye-witnesses to the events which he describes in the book. This fact has led to many of the critics of the book to question the author’s objectivity in the way he has narrates what transpired during the tumultuous days of political transition.
Love him or loath him, one thing can’t be taken away from the author – he has scored a first in piecing together an important chapter of Zambia’s political history for posterity.
Those who disagree with his narrative should just emulate him by burning the midnight oil and give readers their own interpretation of what happened.
The book is an easy to read, fast paced narrative of the power struggle that gripped Zambia’s ruling Patriotic Front in the wake of the demise in office of the country’s fifth President, Michael Chilufya Sata.
Many of the events described in the book are still very fresh in the minds of keen observers of Zambia’s history and can easily be verified from available media accounts and first-hand information from living key participants.
What the book succeeds in doing is present to the public a well-documented account of some of the most crucial behind the scenes moments, which until now were only available in form of innuendos and hearsay.
The book lays bare the intricacies of the factionalism within the Patriotic Front that threatened to consign the party to a short-lived term of office. The author also captures the mood of the nation that propelled Edgar Chagwa Lungu to the pinnacle of Zambian politics, until then, a not so well-known political player.
The author also succeeds in revealing Lungu’s fortitude that made him ride out the storm of resistance from powerful forces, from both inside and outside his party.
The book opens with a sombre tone that that takes the reader back to the dark days of the last quarter of 2014 when, for the second time within a short span of time, the country lost a second sitting president. The book then races to pull aside the curtain on the power jostling that had begun long before President Sata breathed his last.
The reader is captivated by how President Sata, sensing that political vultures were circling to rip apart what he had given his life to achieve, summoned his last ounce of energy to ensure that the mantle is passed on to Edgar Chagwa Lungu, who had emerged as one of his most trusted lieutenants. One did not need to be an insider to understand the late president’s preference for Lungu.
As the drama unfolds, one gets to understand the roles played by key individuals in the run-up to the January 20, 2015 presidential election. Guy Scott as acting republican president’s footprint on the events of those days is unveiled.
Mrs. Inonge Wina, the current vice-president’s fearless leadership, which was so crucial to Lungu’s victory, also occupies good space in the book. Kelvin Fube Bwalya’s astute legal mind is also well portrayed by the book.
There are also hilarious moments that sends the reader’s imagination running wild; like when the author, Anthony Mukwita, had to scale a wall-fence to wake up a guard to open the offices so that Edgar’s legal team could prepare their injunction to stop Guy Scott’s parallel party convention.
The book also gives the reader glimpses into the family life of President Lungu, from his humble beginnings in Kitwe’s Chimwemwe Township to his great partnership with his wife, first lady, madam Esther Nyawa Lungu.
It is still early days for the Lungu presidency, but Mukwita’s book prepares the reader to peep into the mind and character of Zambia’s sixth president.
The book succeeds in bringing out the empathy of a president for his people that earned him support across political party and ethnic lines. The book also paints a picture of a man that his political opponents can only underrate to their own peril.
Writing a book about a sitting president is no easy undertaking, it can only be work in progress. The reader senses the author’s predicament as he nears the end. It is not clear how a book like this should be concluded.
How do you conclude a book of a president who has just begun a first full term in office? So, in a sense, the last chapters of the book are not as exciting as the early ones.
It is not surprising that many of them look somewhat disjointed and misplaced. Anthony Mukwita has been true to his objective; bringing to life one of the most important transitions in Zambia’s political history. Any researcher wanting to assess the legacy of the Lungu presidency, will find this book a useful starting point.
On the whole, Against All Odds, will go down in the annals of Zambia’s political history as a pace-setter in trying to systematically put down together the intricacies of the 2014-2015 political transition that produced Edgar Chagwa Lungu as Zambia’s sixth president.
Others can only pick up the gauntlet that the author has thrown down. It is also gratifying that much thought went into the distributorship of the book to ensure that it is accessible to a global audience.
It is time that the world reads Zambia’s history as told by Zambians. For this effort, the author should be highly commended by all who care for the written history of this country.
About the Reviewer: Dr Fred Mutesa obtained his Doctor of Social Science degree from the University of Konstanz, Germany, in 1993, specialising in policy analysis. He worked as a lecturer of Development Studies at the University of Zambia from 1985 to 2009, twice serving as Head of the Development Studies Department (1994-1998 and 2009). As an academic, Dr Mutesa was also associated with several universities around the world as a visiting scholar, notably the University of Uppsala in Sweden, International University of Japan in Niigata, the University of Duisburg-Essen and the University of Helsinki. He has published on a wide range of topics including governance, development cooperation, poverty reduction and civil society. In 2009, he went on early retirement to pursue a political career as leader of the newly formed Zambians for Empowerment and Development (ZED) opposition political party. He stood as a presidential candidate in Zambia’s September 2011 tripartite elections. He currently resides in Lusaka and works as an independent consultant on social development.


EDGAR LUNGU NOVELLA GETS KIRKUS REVIEWS THUMBS UP

THE New York based Kirkus Review magazine says author Anthony Mukwita has managed to bring out in his political thriller, the ‘political genius’ of President Edgar Lungu that has eluded rivals for a long time.

Kirkus adds that the book also succeeds in introducing the lawyer turned politician to the world as a major political player of special note, even though previously unknown beyond the Zambian borders.

This is contained in a latest review posted on the Kirkus website obtained by this newspaper, as Against all Odds: Zambia’s President Edgar Chagwa Lungu’s rough Journey to State House continues to make literature waves as a modern contemporary piece of history, locally and abroad.

“Mukwita locates in this abnegation the seeds of Lungu’s genius,” Kirkus Review says, “throughout Lungu’s political career, it was hard to see him coming but that was always his (Edgar Lungu) secret weapon.”

The New York based magazine fail to resist the temptation to take a dig at author Mukwita for allegedly penning a ‘campaign’ missive.
They, however, are quick to note that the author does justice to both the main character and opposition whom he ‘generally’ treats well.

President Lungu’s devotion to religion is not lost by the New York based reviewer that take the liberty to describe President Lungu as thus below in the book:
“The subject’s favourite book (subject being Edgar Lungu) must inevitably be the Bible, and the figure—Lungu—must possess no over-riding hunger for power, just a steady drive to do what’s best for the country,” Kirkus observes.

Despite what Kirkus notices as general and natural ‘limitations’ in Mukwita’s Edgar Lungu book, the magazine says: “Mukwita’s efforts (as an author) have paid off: this is a fine work to begin one’s reading about Zambia and the passions of its people.”

Kirkus adds that Mukwita’s book on the sixth President of Zambia is “a fond but clear-eyed look at a steady leader (Edgar Lungu) and the African nation (Zambia) on his shoulders.

The book is available on 78,000 online bookstores such as Barnes & Noble, Amazon while limited copies are available Bookworld in Zambia.
Below is the full review as posted on the American magazine’s website including the web link.

KIRKUS REVIEW

A debut political biography examines Zambia’s current head of state.
In his book, Zambia’s deputy ambassador to Sweden introduces the world’s readers to his boss, Edgar Chagwa Lungu, a relatively new president attempting to unify the African country’s warring factions and to diversify the nation’s copper-dependent economy. The 60-year-old Lungu’s tenure follows that of his fierce and flamboyant mentor, Michael Sata. Appointed by his predecessor to effectively run the country in Sata’s absence, “the acting president did not have the luxury to sit down and cry or mourn” when news of the leader’s death reached Zambia. Mukwita was by his side as Lungu witnessed Vice President Guy Scott’s appointment as acting president on Sata’s death but chose not to contest this action lest he be accused of treason. Mukwita locates in this abnegation the seeds of Lungu’s genius. Throughout Lungu’s political career, “it was hard to see him coming, but that was always his secret weapon.” The narrative tracks his rise to power, the contested 2015 election against the wealthy businessman Hakainde Hichilema, and Lungu’s subsequent efforts to shore up the landlocked country’s economy in the face of falling copper prices and rising inflation. With a strong track record of professional competence and a unique team of rivals in his cabinet, Lungu has maintained his dignity during “what some political commentators have described as the fastest rise in political office” to serve his nation stalwartly and boldly both at home and abroad. Thoughtfulness and eloquence aside, this work is a campaign biography. The genre has its limitations. The subject’s favorite book must inevitably be the Bible, and the figure must possess no overriding hunger for power, just a steady drive to do what’s best for the country. This volume, however, aims for and achieves more than most such entries in the genre by repeatedly pausing to deliver thoughtful, researched, and exacting biographies of the major characters (the opposition figures are, generally, treated fairly) and to provide historical context for non-native readers. Mukwita’s efforts have paid off: this is a fine work to begin one’s reading about Zambia and the passions of its people.
A fond but clear-eyed look at a steady leader and the African nation on his shoulders.
Against all Odds-Zambia’s President Edgar Chagwa Lungu’s Rough Journey to State House
By Anthony Mukwita
Pub Date: Jan. 5th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-4828-7726-7
Page count: 174pp
Publisher: PartridgeAfrica
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online: April 20th, 2017
https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/anthony-mukwita/against-all-odds2/