Dr. Ashton Mwansa Mbita, Zambian Pace Setter of Human Rights Advocate
Profile Dr Ashton Mwansa Mbita, Zambian Pace Setter of Human Rights Advocate
By Ashton Kelly Bunda
He is Dr. Ashton Mwansa Mbita, Mulongoti Bunda his contemporaries call him a simple honorable institution in his own right for the academic achievements garnered and his sacrifice and humble contribution he has made to the human race and mother Zambia.
He was born in the winter month on June 22, 1932 in a family of three.
The walking institution started his journey advocating for human rights in Zambia in the year 1945 at Chipempe Mission School in Kawambwa District of Luapula Province, where he completed his then Standard 4 and proceeded to successfully complete Standard 5 at Rusangu Mission in Southern Province in 1946.
In 1946, the Human Rights Advocate Pace Setter made one of the milestone achieved in his youth by completing the then Form 5 (Five) at Solusi Mission in the then Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) town of Bulawayo.
In his pursuit for a bright future and better Zambia, Ashton Mwansa Bunda traveled to Adams University College and was awarded a Bachelor of Arts in Education, subsequently obtaining a Master’s of Science in Education from 1948 to 1951.
In 1951, Ashton Mwansa Bunda was selected to go and study Political Science and History in Washington, United States Of America (USA) and proceeded to study Human Rights Science at Washington University.
The then youthful learned gentleman was encouraged by his mother and worked as a dresser to study medicine at Preston University, USA in1951, where he met Zambia’s former Finance Minister, the late Arthur Wina, then studying at Yale University. The late Wina, brother to former Foreign Affairs Minister, Sikota Wina, later married Ms. Inonge Mutukwa Wina, currently serving as Zambia’s first female Vice President, in President Edgar Chagwa Lungu’s Patriotic Front (PF) Government.
He also meet Sir Roy Welensky in the USA was studying government administration during the federal of the Northern Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland Federation.
Dr. Bunda Narrated that Sir Roy Welensky organized a meeting with him in the USA then and asked him to help open up a University in Southern Africa between the federation of Southern, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, his education life interesting , adventurous and challenging.
In the year 1953, it was time for Dr. Ashton Mwansa Bunda to plough back his knowledge to society launching hia teaching career at the University College of Nyasaland and taught Political Science in Salisbury Rhodesia.
He was the first African to teach at Materechal Secondary in Southern Rhodesia which is called Zimbabwe today which was by then beginning to unite races.
In 1957 he decided to come back to the mother land Zambia teach and he happened to be the first African to teach at Kamwala secondary school which was the called Prince Charles where he taught three mixed blood children of Mr. Thorn Park which is today named after the residential township Thorn Park in Lusaka, by then he used to switch teaching schedules back and forth to and from Northern and Southern Rhodesia in an effort to build the federation education system which is today Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi.
It was in 1958, Dr. Ashton Mwansa Bunda kissed goodbye to bachelorhood and married Margaret Sombrero, the Zimbabwean girl met in the United States of America (USA).
In the year 1957, with help by wife Margaret and Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) contemporaries spearheaded a plot crusade where the Libala Seventh Day Adventist church stands today.
Before being deported from Southern Rhodesia in 1958, Dr. Bunda tutored Mr. Anderson Kambela Mazoka, in Political History, The late Mazoka later formed United Party National Development(UPND) currently dominating in making checks and balances under the leadership of President Hakainde Hichilema and Vice President Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba popularly known as GBM .
After being deported in 1959 from Southern Rhodesia by the had helped already Southern Rhodesia freedom fighters Mr. George Nyandoro Chikelema , Mazimbamoto ,Mawere Jonathan , Washington Malianga to draft the Constitution of African National Congress of Southern Rhodesia(ANC).
He was welcomed and accepted back home to Zambia then Northern Rhodesia by the great son of Zambia and freedom fighter Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula then Northern Rhodesia (ANC) President, Chona Mainza the late Titus Mukopo , Yeti Kalenga , Mama Julia Chikamoneka, Mrs. Margaret Mumba , Ms. Mbeba Solomon Kaluba who later left African National Congress Party (ANC) and formed African National Independence Party ANIP party .
By then 1959 Paul Kalichini was at the helm of ANIPI as president when Dr. Kenneth Kaunda (KK) Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe, and Munukuyumba Sipalo were in prison in Southern Rhodesia.
In the same year 1956 Dr. Ashton Mwansa Bunda engineered the drafting the constitution for his political party aiding one of the great sons of Africa Samora Machel, who later died in a plane crash in the 1970s.
In the year 1957 he agreed to lend a helping hand in drafting the constitution of National Union for Total Independence party of Angola(UNITA) which was led by Jonas Savimbi long before the civil war that later ensued in 19 75 to 2002.
In 1959 while in meeting with one of Africa’s influential the female freedom fighter known as Mama Julia Chikamoneka in Matero they were surprised with the arrival of Nalumino Mundia from India after being released from prison and they welcome him with pone arms.
By then Mundia had already formed an organization in Livingstone a political party called National Democratic Party that were he met his uncle Mufaya Mumbuna who told him that “if you want to your political party to grow and work in-conjunction with the Mukwai-Mukwai people and the Inde-Inde people and discus how they the party can be officially formed and consolidated.
Mundia followed his uncle’s instructions and went discuss the matter with other freedom fighters and merged their party to ANIPA that finally gave birth to the legendary United National Independence Party (UNIP).
Kalichilini became president and national secretary was taken by Chona Mainza and Dr. Ashton Mwansa Bunda a political advisor.
Later Kalichini agreed to accept Kenneth Kaunda and the group suggested that Kenneth Kaunda should take up the leadership role of party presidency.
Prior to the bright future before Kaunda legally become president of the prospective party called UNIP the members faced challenges, but managed to jump the hurdles after the first white lawyer in Northern Rhodesia Mr. Cunningham played an integral role by wining one of the crucial cases to have KK and His Group released by taking the case before supreme court in Southern Rhodesia .
In the back home in back ground the freedom fighters were pushing the matter in terms finances to have KK and the group walk to freedom by facilitating lawyer Mr .Cunningham expedite the case in court by contributing money with Mama Julia Chikamoneka providing 250 pounds and Dr. Bunda contributed 200 pounds and Mr. Chona Mainza put in 200 pounds among others who contributed.
In 1959 the then Paramount chief of the Barotse Province Akashambatwa Lewanika asked Dr. Bunda to accompany him to South Africa to help amend the constitution of the African National Congress party (ANC), Dr. Bunda who narrated that the then paramount chief was fond of him and at some point made his right hand man working as a committee secretary for two in South Africa.
“The Paramount Chief he made his right hand man at some point, he loved so much, he was fond of me” Dr. Bunda narrated.
In the same year 1959 Dr. Bunda travelled to London for a couple of months upon being summoned by Mr. Cobb who was then the Commonwealth Secretary.
1959 he called by the Human Rights Committee in Washington USA to attend a conference of Human Rights from Washington he came to inform friends who were in prison KK and others about the formerly forming UNIP legally after successful meeting which indicated that rights of belonging and forming organizations.
Working as Lorry Boy
In 1961 then working as a lorry boy Dr, Bunda was employed as lorry boy at one of the Asian leading grocery trader Kanjombe travelling to and from Southern and Northern Rhodesia, and used the opportunity to pass on information.
He narrated that by then there were no restrictions of acquiring passports among the three Federal countries.
In 1961, KK was finally released and Sikota Wina was sent to Mporokoso.
At point in time Fitzpatrick was district commissioner in Salisbury Northern Rhodesia then, by the KK, Kapwepwe and Sipalo were working at the Lusaka Main post office were the youthful DR. Bunda used delivered documents which he was not privy to and was again sent back to Southern Rhodesia and KK group suggest that he should a telegram to communicate independence preparation messages.
In 1960 Dr. Bunda’s arrived to Northern Rhodesia from Salisbury and was welcomed by KK, Nalumino Mundia and group.
In 1962 Mathew Mulumende , Geoffrey Mwango Bunda , Formed CHA-CHA –CHA uprising group and suggested that KK should go Livingstone Maramba township for safety in an effort to protect him from being killed.
In 1964 the dream was slowly but surely coming to reality and the light at the end of the tunnel shining UNIP part put to paper after successful negations with the colonial government to be politically independent and take over government.
“After Independence KK got presidency was duty bound and went round the world to covey messages of appreciation to all colonial masters as well as celebrate.” Dr. Bunda explained.
“when Kaunda became president he did not forget me , after coming back from London on a tour of duty , he called me and gave a post as secretary at state house his office” Dr. Bunda Narrated.
In 1965 KK suggested that Dr. Bunda should start teaching and mentoring others at University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka.
By the KK’s personal physician, Dr. Caruthus and people close to KK decided to move in due to tensions those days of apartheid as could not trust white man to treat him.
In 1966 UNIP officials suggested that Dr. Bunda should become KK personal doctor and KK was pleased to have him around, and Dr.Bunda took up the duty for one year.
In the same year 1966 Dr. Bunda was sent to Nigeria to meet Mr. Ojuko and he given documents to deliver ,but was not privy to the contents of latter .
He travelled to Nigeria and came in to the country with Dr. Pater and Obnech and Dr. Chuke and brought them to Zambia and organized accommodation for them at Fairview Hotel.
After accomplishing the mission in the same year Dr. Bunda was transferred to Parliament as editor in chief of the Hansard Book’s publication were parliament speeches are recorded, but the appointment just lasted for 2hours and 47 minutes only.
In the year 1968 Dr. Bunda was again transferred to the ministry of information and broadcasting as Director and that where he met Mr. Ariel Phiri, then Chairman for public service commission, but again the life span of the position lasted for 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Resignation from Government
From the Ministry information he made his last move in government to the Cabinet office where he finally resigned in from Government duty in the year 1978.
Formation of Human Rights Department
The year 1980 Dr. Bunda embarked on journey to start advocating for Human Rights for Zambia and travelled to London to Submitted Documents to the Amnesty International on behalf of Zambia in 1981 and became one of the first members of Amnesty International in Africa.