Wila Mung’omba will be missed
Published On February 19, 2014 » 3734 Views» By Hildah Lumba » Features
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.Wila Mung'omba

.Wila Mung’omba

By MIRIAM ZIMBA –

GONE to the land of his ancestors in the year he could have been commemorating his diamond jubilee-75 years in October this year.
Wila Mung’omba, born in Mbala on October 18, 1939, was the second born in a family of eight.
Unknown by many, Mr Mung’omba initially trained as an economist at Uganda’s Makerere University in the early 1960s.
This was after completing his O levels and form six education at Munali Secondary School in the late 1950s.
He attended his primary education at various primary schools, which included Lunzuwa Primary School.
Perhaps his career path to the legal fraternity was no sheer coincidence, and that he could have taken after his father Israeli Mung’omba who was a court justice.
His mother Chomba Mung’omba was a housewife.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Mr Mung’omba went to London, Great Britain, where he pursued a degree programme in Law before he began his career at the then Ministry of Legal Affairs, now referred to as the Ministry of Justice.
Between 1969 and 1970, he served as legal secretary at the United Nations and between 1971 and 1978; he served as Member of Parliament for Mporokoso during the UNIP era.
His earlier career in the political arena, paved way for his political ambition in 2008, when he bid for MMD’s presidential race, after the demise of former president Levy Mwanawasa – a clear indication he was ambitious.
He worked as senior executive officer at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) between 1976 and 1978, and also at the Standard Bank between 1979 and 1980.
He was chairperson of the 2003 Constitution Review commission (CRC), and president of the African Development Bank (ADB), for a full five year term between 1980 and 1985.
The deceased served as a non-executive director on the initial board of the Emerging African Infrastructure Fund, a donor funded financial instrument to encourage public and private sector partnership in infrastructure development in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Mr Mung’omba served as the World Bank’s team leader in the initial preparation of the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM)’s privatisation plan between 1995 and 1998, a period during which he was also director of the same institution between 1996 and 1998.
According to Ian Sikazwe – his cousin, who is representing the family, whilst in England, Mr Mung’omba married his first wife Linda Mung’omba (now deceased) in 1969.
The couple had two daughters, but that did not limit his love and generosity for the extended family members, many of whom he kept in his home, and educated and mentored into becoming responsible citizens.
One of his nephew’s Namulya Mung’omba will remember his uncle as one who would stop at nothing to encourage family members to value their education.
“I will remember him for encouraging us to work hard because he believed there were no short-cuts in life, and that one had to work hard to make it in life,” he recalled.
“He was the sort of person anyone in the family could run to and he would assist in paying education fees for anyone who wanted to be educated, regardless of which learning institution it was,” Namulya said.
Other family members will remember Mr Mung’omba as a pillar of strength and a unifying factor in the family, who was a selfless and dedicated man, and one who did everything to the best of his ability.
“He distinguished himself in all that he did, and he was a visionary, stead fast and focused man,” Mr Sikazwe eulogised.
Mr Mung’omba spent most of his spare time reading various literature, as evidenced by his well stocked library at his home and business premises.
For leisure, he enjoyed swimming, gardening, and works outs at the gymnasium.
The deceased had a passion for construction, and spent a lot of time seeking to learn as much as he could as he took time to participate in the building process of most of his properties.
Among these properties is the family home in Lusaka’s Kabulonga area, and Laughing Water’s Lodge in Lusaka West.
Mr Sikazwe, who last spoke with Mr Mung’omba on the Wednesday prior to his evacuation to South Africa for medical attention, recalls their last conversation being centred on the need for unity in the family, as if he had a premonition that he would not return to Zambia.
Many will remember him for his immense contributions while the diligently served the country in various capacities
His leadership during this very important national exercise-the constitution making process, earned Mr Mung’omba a lot of reverence.
With the resultant document from the CRC, producing what is commonly referred to as the Mung’omba draft constitution which has become a popular point of reference in successive constitution making processes.
Till this date, there has been popular public out-cries on the need to adopt most of the recommendations contained in the Mung’omba draft constitution.
His appointment as chair of this exercise showed the confidence the then Head of State- Mr Mwanawasa had in Mr Mung’omba.
In the later years of his life, Mr Mung’omba concentrated his efforts on expanding his business, after a successful and flourishing career as a lawyer.
According to Attorney General Mumba Malila, Mr Mung’omba was one of the founding members of the legal body-the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ), hence the numerous messages of condolences among the legal fraternity who have described his death as a blow to the profession.
In a spirit of sharing his vast experience in the legal fraternity, Mr Mung’omba contributed to the training of many of lawyers, some of whom have since risen to the ranks of senior legal practitioners such as judges.
At the time of his death, he was serving as Cavmont Capital Bank director a position he held between 2004 to date, as well as the ZCCM Investment Holdings executive chair from 2011.
After the demise of his wife Linda in 2001, Mr Mung’omba married Judge Betty Mujula in 2010, who survives him with two daughters and five grand children.
A son of the African soil indeed, one who many people are able to relate to, and for those who never had the chance to meet him in person, undoubtedly, a name such as Wila Mung’omba is one that rings a bell without hesitation.
This is the man whose remains have been flown into the country today, and as he is being eulogised by his contemporaries in the legal fraternity at his valedictory service at the Supreme Court.
True to his words, ‘there are no short-cuts in life’, his was a life well lived, and lived to the fullest- a man best described as a patriot.
He ran his race, fought his battles, and now he has crossed over to eternal rest, but undoubtedly, memories of him will live on, MHSRIP.

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