Valentine Musakanya played a leading role in Zambia's first post-independence government as Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service. He was subsequently a Member of Parliament, a Government Minister and Governor of the Bank of Zambia. Musakanya is however better known today as one of those convicted of the 1980 coup attempt against the one-party state of Kenneth Kaunda's United National Independence Party (UNIP) government. Although Musakanya was subsequently acquitted of involvement in the coup, questions have persisted: was Musakanya involved in the coup attempt? If so, why did he become involved? This volume, making Musakanya's writings available in public for the first time, provides a glimpse into one of Zambia's most brilliant minds. Musakanya's memoirs chart his personal and intellectual journey from a childhood in rural Northern Province and the mining township of Wusakile, to outstanding educational success and a glittering career in the civil service of newly independent Zambia. They describe his significant achievements, but also his disillusionment with the politicisation of state structures, the growth of patronage and corruption, and the growing authoritarianism and centralisation of political power in the hands of the President. Musakanya provides an insider's insight into the failings of post-independence government, articulating his personal disillusionment with UNIP and Kaunda, and explaining his involvement with those accused alongside him of involvement in the 1980 coup attempt. Musakanya describes in detail his arrest and interrogation at the hands of the intelligence services, and the publication sheds substantial new light on the organisation of the coup and the motivations of those involved. This volumes is the first in a planned series of publications which will place the writings of Valentine Musakanya in the public domain, in Zambia and internationally.
Miles Larmer is Professor of African History in the Faculty of History and African Studies Centre, St Antony's College, University of Oxford, and Research Fellow in the Department of Historical and Heritage Studies at the University of Pretoria. A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, he is the author of The Katangese Gendarmes and War in Central-Southern Africa, 1960-1999, with Erik Kennes (2016), Rethinking African Politics: A History of Opposition in Zambia (2011) and Mineworkers in Zambia: Labour and Political Change in Post-Colonial Africa, 1964 - 1991 (2007).