Magande talks about his time at Lima Bank, how he was invited to join MMD

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“The responsibilities at Lima Bank gave me another opportunity to visit the various parts of the country to discuss real and local issues. I revisited some of the projects I’d initiated while at the Ministry of Rural Development in the seventies. I was a recognizable figure even in the rural areas of the country.
With my added skills in financial institutions, I assisted many Zambians to establish commercial banks and consultancy firms in various professions. As a development bank, the Lima Bank supported newly created or established commercial banks by maintaining active accounts in these banks. Amongst them were Capital Bank and Finance Bank, which were established and owned by local businessmen, whom I knew very well.
Internationally, I was a consultant to the FAO on agricultural credit, to the World Bank on the futuristic report on “Sustainable Growth with Equity in Sub-Saharan Africa – A Long-Term Perspective”, and to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Assignments I carried out for these multilateral institutions gave me the opportunity to understand their development policies and strategies implemented at the global level.
In February 1991, I received an unexpected visitor at my office at Lima Bank. My personal assistant, Shirley Simubali, informed me that Mr Mulemba had come to see me. I asked her which Mulemba, recalling my sad encounter with Humphrey Mulemba in 1983, when he was secretary general of the ruling party and I was at MCTI. She informed me that it was Humphrey Mulemba and I still asked her, “Which one?”
Simubali then came into the office to confirm that it was the former SG of UNIP and she asked me if I had a problem seeing him. I told her to allow him to come in. The few minutes before his entry into my office were some of my tortuous in my life, because I did not know what had brought him to my office. As he entered, he shouted, “Peter, how are you?” while extending his hand for a handshake. I was delighted that the hand that had been withdrawn from me for the previous eight years was now readily available for me to shake.
We discussed agriculture in Zambia and the great potential awaiting a supporting environment. He praised me for the work I was doing at the Lima Bank. Mulemba then turned to politics and informed me of his role in the new Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD). He stated that the MMD would like me to join the incoming administration. He indicated that they had discussed my placement at either the Bank of Zambia or the Ministry of Finance.
After Mulemba left, I took time to explain to Simubali my past relationship with him and why I had been apprehensive of his visit. I then briefed her on the purpose of his visit. She encouraged me to accept the offer as my technical skills could be useful to the country, even under a new political party. A few days later, Flavia Musakanya dropped in and delivered a message, which was similar to the one by Mulemba. I had also known her while at MCTI, but under some pleasant circumstances, as a resilient and enterprising business lady.
The visits to my office by two prominent members of the new Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MDD) must have become common knowledge in government circles. Simubali informed me that she had heard a story that I was likely to be dismissed from Lima Bank for supporting the emerging opposition movement. I had supplied some information on the economy to members of the emerging opposition in the hope that they will use it to plan the country’s future. I was not overly worried about losing a job, as our Choma farm was doing well and I was prepared to relocate to the farm. I was concerned that being dismissed would dent the good reputation, which I had laboured to build for twenty years in the public service.
The increased loan approvals by the Lima Bank, which I was managing, were attributed to my alleged support for the opposition and not seen as a way of enriching the poor farmers. Some UNIP leaders even recommended my dismissal for giving out loans to farmers from public funds.
President Kaunda did not fire me. Instead, he transferred me on 22 March 1991 to the Industrial Development Corporation Limited (INDECO) to assume the position of Executive Director (Agri-business). I was responsible for supervising the chief executive officers of twelve quasi-government agriculture and agro-processing companies. I joined the team of Lawrence Bwalya, Evaristo Kasunga, Dennis Lwiindi, Maxwell Mwila, Shimukowa Shalaulwa, and Stanley Tamele under Mwene Mwinga, the managing director.
In the letter of transfer, H.E. the President was gracious enough to thank me for “the services you have rendered in setting up the Lima Bank and steering it through its first years of existence”. He revealed that INDECO was going through a difficult time and that the changed economic policies would usher in a period of greater competition. Amongst the major new policies were the privatization of some parastatals and the liberalisation of the economy”, from “The Depth of My Footprints”.

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