Looking back: Kebby Sililo Musokotwane – Zambia’s Youngest Prime Minister

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Kebby Musokotwane

Kebby Musokotwane

Kebby Musokotwane was born on May 5, 1946 as Kebby Sililo Kambulu Musokotwane, in Musokotwane village. Zambia was then called Northern Rhodesia, writes Mutale Mwaba for Zambian Eye.

At a very young age Kebby showed brilliance. Like all people of old, we will say he used to pass number one..(never heard of any nkalamba coming number 2, even mishanga seller and ba kamalasha shonshe shali ni nshimbi). He was educated at Monze Secondary School, Livingstone Teachers College, and the University of Zambia.

Kebby was a ladies man, but after some runs he fell in love and married Muzya Regina Bulowa in 1967. They have four sons and two daughters. Kebby Musokotwane became a politician in Zambia at a young age, compared to the veterans he was part of. He served as a School Teacher and College Lecturer before entering politics.

Musokotwane was a member of the United National Independence Party (UNIP) and one of the closest allies of First Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda. He entered politics in 1973 when he became a Member of Parliament for Katombora constituency in the first one-party elections of December 1973. So he became an MP at 27.

In 1977, Musokotwane was appointed Minister of Water and Natural Resources. In 1979, he was moved to the Sports Ministry in the same capacity. That same year he was transferred to the Education Ministry where he stayed for two years before becoming Finance Minister.

At 38, Musokotwane made history as Zambia’s youngest Prime Minister in 1985. In 1987, he combined the post with that of Finance Minister. He was relieved of the Prime Minister’s portfolio in 1989 and initially sent back to Education but after protest was sent to Canada as Zambia’s High Commissioner.

It is said that he was relieved of the Prime Minister position because he continued to become a popular figure, which began to be seen as threat to President Kenneth Kaunda. General Malimba Masheke, a career soldier and Kaunda loyalist, was moved from the Home Affairs Ministry to the Prime Ministership

When the multiparty movement gained momentum in 1990, speculation was high that he would join the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD). But he stuck to the United National Independence Party (UNIP) and later became the party’s secretary-general after its disastrous performance in the October 1991 election. Here selfish politicians and bamuselela kwakaba can learn a lesson or two about loyalty.

When Kaunda stepped down as President of the party in 1992, following the party’s election defeat in 1991, Musokotwane was elected President of the party, with Kaunda’s support. But to some he seemed not to fit in former president Kenneth Kaunda’s oversized shoes. Dr Kaunda then decided to return to politics, hoping to reveive the party that was soundly defeated in the 1991 elections. At the June 1995 UNIP congress election, Musokotwane lost to Kaunda who polled 1,916 to Musokotwane’s 400 votes, for the party president position.

In 1993, he was embroiled in scandal when he admitted that a radical faction of the party was conspiring to topple the new government of Frederick Chiluba. He died on February 11, 1996. I personally saw his coffin at Maina Soko hospital in Woodlands when I was just 10 years old because I lived near there and went to watch the funeral procession.

From him as young people we learn that we dont have to wait till we hit 40 to make a real impact. Even as young people with the right attitude, the perfect loyalty will get us far….Discipline too is very fundamental. Kebby was groomed by Kaunda to take over till the unfortunate happened and he shipped to Canada.

God rest his soul, he did his part, what will be your part? what will be your contribution? what will you be known for?

Pishamo Pen Muntu wandi and make a difference…



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Start: 2019-07-01 End: 2019-07-31