GWENDOLINE KONIE – ZAMBIA’S FREEDOM FIGHTER, POLITICIAN, DIPLOMAT AND POET
Gwendoline Noreen Chomba Konie (9 October 1938 – 14 March 2009) was a Zambian diplomat and politician. She was the Zambian ambassador to Scandinavia, the United Nations and Germany. She formed her own party in 2000 and stood as a candidate to be the President of Zambia in 2001.
In 1962, she was chosen by Sir Evelyn Dennison Hone, the Governor-General of Northern Rhodesia, to become a member of her country’s Legislative Council. She consulted Kenneth Kaunda before accepting. She rose to be Zambia’s Ambassador and Plenipotentiary to Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland from 1974 to 1977. From 1977 she was the country’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. After Kenneth Kaunda lost power in 1991 she was retained as a diplomat by President Frederick Chiluba until 1997. At the time she was the Zambian Ambassador to Germany.
In 2001, she was a presidential candidate in the 2001 Zambian general elections. She stood on the Social Democratic Party which she formed in August 2000 to concentrate on issues important to women and children. From the eleven candidates that stood, Konie received more than 10,000 votes and Levy Mwanawasa was elected president.
Konie was also a poet. Her poem “In the Fist of your Hatred” was included in The Penguin Book of Modern African Poetry in 2007. The poem is a polemic against male arrogance.
She died in Lusaka in 2009 and was accorded a state funeral by President Rupiah Banda.