Mwanawasa, Levy Patrick

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Levy Patrick Mwanawasa (lĕv´ē ĕmwä´nəwä´sə), 1948–2008, Zambian political leader, president of Zambia (2002–8). A lawyer opposed to Kenneth Kaunda's rule, he gained prominence in 1989 when he defended former vice president Christon Tembo and others who were accused of plotting a coup. When opposition leader Frederick Chiluba became president of Zambia in 1991, Mwanawasa became vice president, but he resigned in 1994, denouncing government corruption. Elected president in 2001 with Chiluba's support, Mwanawasa mounted an anticorruption crusade that led to the conviction of his predecessor. He also oversaw improvements in Zambia's economy, but failed to reduce poverty significantly. Reelected in 2006, he died in office from complications from stroke.