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Frederick Chiluba

Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba (born April 30, 1943) was the president of Zambia from 1991 to 2002.

He was born to Jacob Titus Chiluba Nkonde and Diana Kaimba and grew up in Ndola where he went to Kawambwa Secondary School. He later completed his General Education Certificate via correspondence and studied economics in both the United States and former Communist countries. He worked as personnel clerk before becoming an accounts assistant at Atlas Copco in Ndola where he joined the National Union of Building, Engineering and General Workers (NUBEGW) rising through the ranks to the post of chairman of the union.

He went on to win the chairmanship of the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU). In 1987, he successfully withstood challenge to his chairmanship of NUBEGW that would have put his ZCTU position in jeopardy. Chiluba and several leaders in ZCTU were detained in 1981 by then President Kenneth Kaunda for calling a wildcat strike that paralyzed most of the Zambian economy. The union leaders were released after judge ruled their detention as unconstitutional.

In 1990, he helped form the Movement for Multiparty Democracy that went on to successfully challenge the one-party government. Chiluba was elected president on October 31, 1991. He won re-election to second five-year term in 1996 despite a lawsuit questioning his birthplace and hence his eligibility for the post.

While there has been a dispute about where he was born, (Some candidates in the 1996 presidential elections challenged his eligibility claiming that he or his real father was born in Zaire) there is no doubt that he was raised on the Copperbelt and this contributed to his taking up of unionism.

In late 2001, Chiluba divorced his wife Vera with whom he has nine children.

Despite his party's overwhelming majority in parliament, he failed to win support in his bid to amend the constitution allowing him to run for a third term. He stepped down at the end of his term on January 2, 2002, and was replaced by Levy Mwanawasa, his once time vice president. Although Chiluba started out as a socialist, his policies have turned capitalist, stressing free enterprise with less government interference.

Politically, Chiluba left with a muddled legacy. He successfully brokered a peace agreement for the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo but failed to stop the escalating crime and poverty in Zambia. He was elected chairman of the Organization of African Unity after he left the presidency.