Many people know Charles Mushitu from a professional perspective. Mushitu has had a distinguished career in the humanitarian circles which spans twelve years. Having joined the Zambia Red Cross Society as Public Relations Officer in 2001, he rose to the position of Public Relations Manager before being appointed as Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer in 2004, a position he has held for seven years, making him the second longest serving Secretary General of the organisation in Zambia.
Mushitu is one of the two Africans who were picked from among 510 applicants worldwide to sit on a very high profile body in Geneva, called the Humanitarian Diplomacy Advisory body. He and his colleague from Burkina Faso are part of this team which advises world leaders on issues of humanitarian aid.
This feat probably defines the pinnacle of Mushitu’s professional career at the moment, all this earned through hard work, dedication and commitment. Mushitu holds a Masters Degree in Mass Communication, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mass Communication, a Diploma in Education, Silver Diploma in Journalism and Professional writing and Gold Diploma in Journalism and Professional writing. Currently, he is pursuing an Msc in Public Administration and Degree in Law at the University of Zambia.
However, being a CEO for an organisation such as the Zambia Red Cross Society has put Mushitu in the public domain for the past many years such that his name has become synonymous with the organisation. Nonetheless, most of the people do not know that Mushitu has another life in the name of an entrepreneur. He has invested his time and money in business for many years.
Mushitu who is also a Senior Superintendent of 13 years in the Zambia Police reserve unit, runs a continuum of successful businesses which have made him what he is today. However, his successful enterprise exploits have attracted a lot of envy, jealous and suspicion, something which has become typical of Zambians anyway. This is the point at which the Pull Him Down (PHD) syndrome creeps in.
Among his business portfolios is a publishing house called Mwansabombwe Educational Publishers solely owned by him. Mushitu who wrote his first book at the age of 26 in 1992, has written more than 26 titles as we speak. He has been in book publishing business for the past 19 years, distributing thousands of copies year in year out. This is by no means a small company; it has a very high turnover. He is also a trainer in project proposal writing and has since written a book titled ‘Writing successful project proposals and funding applications’.
In January of 2007, Mushitu opened a school called Mwansabombwe pre and primary school along Kamloops road. The school which uses a building rented from the Lusaka City Council (LCC), has about four hundred pupils. All this is money and it only takes an individual with an enterprising mind. Apart from the school, is a grocery shop called Mwansabombwe Trading situated off Vubu road in Lusaka’s Emmasdale area.
The shop racks in over 1 million per day. Further, many people will attest to the fact that Mushitu is also in the poultry business and has supplied many with Chickens week in week out. In fact, it is understood that most people at Zambia Red Cross Society have been feeding on Mushitu’s chickens and they still owe him money.
As if that were not enough, Mushitu’s Mwansabombwe business empire is also into farming. He owns a 50 hectare farm in Kapiri Mposhi in Chief Nkole’s area. He acquired this land in 2009 through the government’s resettlement scheme. Again, he demonstrated his strong entrepreneurial skills as he invested in maize farming and produced one thousand bags of maize in the last two years. Just like any other farmer, the maize is sold to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA). At the end of this farming season again, the farm business is surely expected to sell more to FRA.
The above stated successful business exploits are to a larger extent what have made Mushitu what he is today. By comparison, it is very clear even with naked eyes that the revenue from his business empire is by far more than his monthly salary from the Zambia Red Cross Society. Looking at the payslip, Mushitu gets ZMK 15, million as basic pay, ZMK 10 Million as housing allowance, ZMK 2,100,000 as fuel allowance and ZMK 480,000 as airtime allowance. Over the many years at Red Cross, Mushitu has travelled extensively within and outside the country and has also earned a fortune in travel allowances. As Chief Executive Officer, Mushitu was entitled to 350 US Dollars per day and on a given time he is out for not less than five days. If we are to look at it from another angle, going by his remuneration, Mushitu can afford to buy a car from Japan every month. He can afford to do that thanks to his business which is able to take care of his family’s pressing needs.
Mushitu explains that because of his successes, he has had a lot of people looking for his blood. ‘I have had a difficult time at Red Cross. I have had a lot of people looking for my blood. However, it has been observed that most Secretary General’s at Red Cross have been hounded out of the organisation in a similar fashion. In 1998, SG Chipo Lungu was hounded out on allegations of theft but she was later acquitted while another SG Kelvin Chiposo was forced to resign.
Mushitu who is a staunch Christian and a badged member of the Mens Fellowship in the United Church of Zambia (UCZ) says that time is the best healer and that only time will tell.
Mushita was arrested by the DEC a few weeks ago on allegations of theft and money laundering involving over K1.4 billion donor funds meant for water and sanitation in Southern Province.