Levy Patrick Mwanawasa (3 September 1948 – 19 August 2008) was the third Republican President of Zambia. He ruled the country from January 2002 until his death in August 2008.
He is credited for having initiated a campaign to rid the country of corruption. Prior to his election, Mwanawasa served as vice-president from 1991 to 1994 whilst an elected Member of Parliament for Chifubu Constituency.
Foreign investors liked Mwanawasa, owing partly to his anti-corruption drive. During his presidency, Zambia received foreign investment. The main driver of economic growth was minerals. Mwanawasa’s policies helped to lower inflation and spread some benefits to the poor.Tourists and white farmers diverted from Zimbabwe and helped Zambian economy. Mnwanawasa turned the Zambian town of Livingstone, near Victoria Falls, into a tourist hub. Zambia received a relatively large amount of aid and debt relief because of liberalisation and Mwanawasa’s “stolid efforts”. Overall, economic growth increased to about 6% per year.
Mwanawasa criticised President Robert Mugabe of neighbouring Zimbabwe. Mwanawasa was one of the first African leaders to publicly do so.
In April 2006, Mwanawasa experienced a mild stroke.
On 29 June 2008, while in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, for an African Union summit, Mwanawasa was hospitalised due to a second stroke. On 1 July, International SOS evacuated him by air ambulance to France for further treatment.
On 19 August, a family member who wished to remain anonymous stated that Mwanawasa had died early that morning. The news of Mwanawasa’s death was confirmed by Banda through a television broadcast on the government-owned Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC).
He informed the nation that Mwanawasa had died that morning at 10:30 (8:30 GMT) at the Percy Military Hospital in Paris. Expressing “immense grief and deep sorrow”, Banda declared national mourning for seven days and urged Zambians to “remain calm and mourn our President with dignity”.