Category Archives: Zambian Political Theology

“Boasting na njala”: Why ZIALE results don’t make sense

E. Munshya, LLM, MBA, M.Div.

Fifty-one years after independence, we are a nation of “njala” and legal “load shedding”. In this context, it is not physical hunger I am talking about, but legal hunger. In a population of 15 million people, a paltry 1,500 are members of the Zambian bar. This is a crisis. It cannot continue any more. We need drastic measures to change this. Provinces such as Luapula, Western, Northern and Muchinga do not have a single private lawyer practicing there. My relatives in Milenge who get charged with possessing a ball of cannabis, will have no access to sound legal advice because the closest lawyer is in Ndola. This makes legal representation impossible and out of reach for a majority of our people. This state of affairs is a disaster!


Elias Munshya, LLM, M.A., MBA, M.Div.

The Zambia Institute of Advanced Legal Education (ZIALE) is the statutory body established to provide the critical training needed to practice law in Zambia. It is a monopoly. It has a nine-month training program. The latest results are consistent with what we have seen over the years, a 5% pass rate, or in other words a 95% failure rate. Out of every 100 students, only 5 get to clear the ZIALE program to become lawyers. There has been a lot of discussion about what should be done to improve this pass rate. Clearly, passing 5 or 15 lawyers each intake will not cure the lawyer deficit that Zambia faces. Zambia needs to be adding at least 100 new lawyers a year if we are to have a professional legal service that would serve the legal needs of all Zambians. At this rate, we will never catch up, not even in a 1000 years.

The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) president, issued a statement last week, stating that he finds nothing unusual with ZIALE results. He went on to say that students fail because ZIALE is tough. But the question is, to what end should ZIALE be tough? Mr. Chisanga said that ZIALE has a very compressed curriculum, and as a result students find it very difficult to master. He gave an example, “most of the students are used to taking 4 subjects in a year, so they find it difficult to master 9 subjects at once.” I have a question, are these 9 subjects, taken over a period of 9 months, necessary to the practice of law? What exactly do these subjects teach? If you have a program of study that is so tough as to fail a good number of people you need to practice law, it is necessary to change your program. Perhaps, ZIALE should stop to blame the students, it must accept responsibility for once and admit that its methods and its curriculum are archaic, and its basis is unsustainable. ZIALE is not helping advance the legal profession in Zambia, it is helping stifle the development of law in Zambia.

A bar admission course in Zambia must teach basic skills that impart practical abilities that would help law graduates meet entry level requirements to practice law. A bar admission course needs to teach things such as advocacy, drafting of pleadings, professional ethics, and procedural matters. It is absolutely unnecessary to teach substantive law to students because they are supposed to have studied substantive law at law school.

It is true that a bar admission course acts as a gate keeper in some situations where you have too many professionals and you want to deliberately control how many people get called. In Zambia, we have a serious deficit of lawyers, having ZIALE become a gate keeper makes no sense. As I have stated, it is tantamount to “boasting na njala” to insist that we should limit the admission of new lawyers when our country faces a serious hunger for lawyers. In Japan, the pass rate for the bar admission course is around 5%. However, Japan has a good number of lawyers and they can afford to limit how many new lawyers they admit. We are not Japan. The number of lawyers in Zambia can not compare to the Japanese situation. We need to use systems that are relevant to Zambia. We should not do things simply because other rich nations do that.

I do understand that some professors at ZIALE have said that law schools are graduating very low calibre of students. I agree. My interaction with some law students, yields a very sad picture. But that still does not explain the 95% failure rate at ZIALE. Student calibre could be justifiable if the failure rate were 50%, not when it is 95%. Out of curiosity though, why is it that the politically connected and the relatives of judges and senior lawyers almost always pass at ZIALE? Are they of a better calibre?

This is the problem when you make a training program unnecessarily difficult, you open the door to corruption, bribery and nepotism. When few can pass ZIALE fairly, the best category that would pass it are the extremely intelligent people, the geniuses. Since we have a very small supply of geniuses in the world, the next category of people to pass are the politically connected and friends and children of those who teach at ZIALE!

In the next intake at ZIALE another naïve group of students will enrol and pay millions in fees. It is like we are a nation addicted to gambling. Even when you know that ZIALE is a casino, we still have 200 to 250 new students who will end up paying millions to be part of the 95% failure rate. Zambian law graduates should one year boycott ZIALE. Without the billions of kwacha, they get from students, ZIALE might just change.

The Zambian government has the duty to ensure that the people of Milenge and Mwinilunga are provided adequate legal advice. It is their right. If ZIALE resists change, government can simply go to parliament, strip ZIALE of their monopoly and ask the people of Milenge to directly train their own lawyers. Both ZIALE and LAZ are just concerned about perpetrating their monopoly and “boasting na njala”. They do not care about the accused of Milenge. And that’s a serious legal hunger our nation faces.


Suggested citation: Munshya, Elias (2015). “Boasting na njala”: Why ZIALE results don’t make sense. Elias Munshya Blog ( 19, 2015).




On Faith and Politics: Towards a Pentecostal political praxis in Zambia

By Elias Munshya, LLM, MBA, M.Div.

The pentecostal movement is here to stay. Dismissed as a passing fad, its resiliency has baffled many critics. With several streams expressing its identity the time has come for Pentecostalism to define and redefine its attitude towards the state, particularly in a country like Zambia which claims to be a Christian nation. President Lungu’s religious conduct in the past month has received the most praise from Patriotic Front cadres and many Pentecostals. I submit that once pentecostalism has had a deep search into its own theology, it will find plenty fodder for principles that must guide its attitude towards politics in general and the state in particular. What are the principles that should guide a pentecostal political praxis?

First, as a movement that hates human suffering and poverty, pentecostals could become vocal advocates for national economic transformation. Pentecostals claim that suffering is not from God. In fact, this is one point that African traditional religions find unanimity with pentecostalism, a detest for suffering. Since this is what Pentecostals believe, it should not be difficult then for them to confront social and political causes of that suffering and poverty. Unfortunately, Pentecostals are not as keen in confronting social and political causes of poverty. Pentecostal pulpits teach how that it is God’s will to be rich, but there are not enough messages trying to prophetically call out political corruption. Perhaps, Pentecostals in Zambia would do well to shift their theology a little bit so as to bring the political arena into the mix of what they understand to be sources of human suffering.

Political ethics in a Christian nation

Political ethics in a Christian nation

Second, from its “transnational prophetism” Pentecostalism can hew-out some principles to guide its attitude towards politics in Zambia. Through transnational prophetism, Pentecostals envision themselves beyond the limits of the national borders. This can be seen from the names of Pentecostal churches and ministries which emphasize their transnational character. Leading Pentecostal churches in Zambia frequently add “international” or its variation in their names to emphasize transnationalism. Both Grace Ministries Mission International and Bread of Life Church International are good examples. The Bible Gospel Church in Africa (BIGOCA) shows its transnational character by infusing “Africa” in its name. Zambian Pentecostals need to reimagine their attitude towards politics in ways that remain faithful to their transnational character and vision. If Pentecostals are transnational, then it should follow that they must respect and consider the Pentecostal character of their brothers and sisters in other countries. It is this transnationalism that must tamper Zambian Pentecostals’ unbridled nationalism which may lead to absurd political results in Zambia. In Nigeria, for example, the Pentecostal community there would go to war to preserve their federal republic as a “secular state”. In Zambia, however, Pentecostals almost without a second thought believe that Zambia must be a “Christian state”. Pentecostal trans-nationality therefore challenges some assumptions among Zambian Pentecostals that for Zambia to be evangelically viable, it must be a “Christian nation”.

Third, Pentecostals are a people of renewal. They live in an atmosphere of constant spiritual innovation. They do emphasize that there is always a “new thing” that God is doing among the people. This is important and it must be highly commended. However, statecraft and statesmanship demands that people consider a little bit of history. History is oftentimes not very important to a Pentecostal worldview. When President Edgar Lungu takes several steps that seem to advance the Pentecostal faith, Pentecostals believe it is a “new thing”. They quickly forget, and would not want to be reminded of the past interaction between church and state under the leadership of President Chiluba. If Pentecostals are to be relevant politically, they must realise that Zambia is a history. In politics, actions of political leaders should be interpreted within the past practices. When President Chiluba declared Zambia as a Christian nation in 1991, he was flanked by two of the most influential Pentecostal figures of that time: Chawuska M.M. Chihana and Ernest Chelelwa. When Chiluba chose to include the “Christian nation” declaration in the preamble to the constitution of Zambia in 1996, Pentecostals were the most vocal supporters of this constitutional enactment. Chiluba’s favorite scripture was 2 Chronicles 7:14, the same scripture that President Lungu is quoting to justify his evangelical crusade today. Pentecostals would do very well to interrogate the history of what happened the last time a president went to church in their name. Such an enquiry would help current Pentecostal leaders hone their message and re-evaluate their attitude towards President Lungu’s seemingly praiseworthy biblical pronouncements. Pentecostal Chiluba ended up facing the most vicious of corruption charges. Is there anything Pentecostals can learn from that history? It is time to move beyond the comfort of slogans!

Fourth, Pentecostals are men and women of war. One of the most dramatic characteristics of Pentecostalism is the belief in a cosmic war taking place between good and evil and between God and satan. Very frequently Pentecostals engage in spiritual warfare in which they “bring down” strongholds of vices such as poverty, prostitution or gambling. Pentecostals would very easily bind and take spiritual authority over the stronghold that controls an institution such as the Copperbelt University and ZESCO Ltd. This spiritual ethic of prayer and warfare is a positive thing. Nevertheless, Pentecostals might need to intervene more proactively in bringing down these strongholds not only by spiritual prayer, but by political action as well. Bizarre that on the same weekend that President Lungu was dedicating the building of a state funded church in Lusaka, the state police were beating and assaulting Copperbelt University students who had gathered to protest government policy. There has so far been no word from a single Pentecostal leader condemning the brutality of President Lungu’s police. But if President Lungu were to call for a prayer and fasting to resolve CBU problems, Pentecostals would be among the first people to respond to that prayer.

In conclusion, with a small shove in the right direction, Pentecostalism could be a good political force in Zambia. They already have what it takes in their theology. It is time to domesticate that theology into a viable political praxis.



Munshya, E. (2015) On Faith and Politics: Towards a Pentecostal political praxis in Zambia. Elias Munshya Blog ( (29 October 2015)

God and Politics: An analysis of Niebuhr’s typologies in the Zambian context

By Elias Munshya, LL.M., MBA, M.Div.

 On Sunday October 18, 2015 President Edgar Lungu did something that was quite consistent with the practices of many of his predecessors: associate the Zambian state with the Christian religion. From its founding to the present, Zambia has wrestled with the question of what should be the correct relationship between faith and politics in general and between church and state in particular. This article seeks to join that conversation by assessing Helmut Richard Niebuhr’s typologies within the context of a nation, like Zambia, that has proclaimed itself to be a “Christian nation”. Niebuhr (1894 – 1962) was one of the most influential Christian political theologians of the 20th Century. His five typologies are discussed in turn.

In the Christ against Culture typology, Niebuhr saw a radical opposition between Christ and culture. This position holds that it is virtually impossible to be faithful to both Christ and culture and consequently, loyalty to the Christian community implies rejection and repudiation of popular culture, including its politics. Consequent to this idea is the belief that faithfulness to Christ suggests that believers discern Christian principle out of the cultural milieu of the Jewish law and the proceeding Christian culture.

Philosophers Tertullian and Tolstoy are among several that have typified this typology. During Zambia’s independence struggle, Prophetess Alice Mulenga Lenshina’s Lumpa church arose with the Christ against culture worldview. Accused of insurgency and treason, the church was crashed by the government of Prime Minister Kenneth David Kaunda.

The Christ of culture typology is the opposite of the first typology. In this typology Christ is seen to be the saviour of the society and the culture. Christ is the fulfiller of the hopes and aspirations of all cultures. According to this typology, there can be no conflict between the community of faith and the society and its politics. A believer should be welcome in both communities. The teachings of Christ are regarded not as radically opposed to the culture and its politics but rather as restatements of the cultural and societal values.

The late Dr. Kwame Bediako, a Ghanaian theologian is a typical representative of the Christ of culture typology. Another African scholar who taught this typology is Professor John S. Mbiti, who stressed that African Traditional Religions have salvific value and acted as preparation for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) leader, Pastor Nevers Mumba’s synthesis of faith and politics seem to derive from this typology.

In the Christ above culture typology Niebuhr characterises it to be somewhat a middle position. It is almost like a fusion of Christianity and the cultural political milieu. In this typology, Christian living is like a pilgrimage. It is living as Christians in the culture tainted with sin and yet what God calls believers to not abandon culture but rather infuse themselves into the culture.

The Christ above culture typology recognizes that the two sets of values, the Christian values on one hand and the cultural milieu on the other. The ethos of the gospel and Christianity cannot just be transferred into the popular culture and vice versa. The two worldviews are important but they are not interchangeable with each other. They can both be used to arrive at a synthesis where Christ is still above culture, but without demonizing culture. Philosopher Thomas Aquinas is a typical example of this typology.

The Christ and culture in paradox typology offers a critical tension between Christ and culture. Culture is an indispensable milieu for preaching the gospel and yet it is not religious by itself. In this typology values of Christianity and Christian living cannot be translated into the imperatives of culture and vice versa. While being exclusively existent, both Christ and culture do work inclusively to the promotion of the reign of God and that is where the paradox lies.

Elias Munshya, LLM, M.A., MBA, M.Div.

Elias Munshya, LLM, M.A., MBA, M.Div.

The irony provided in the Christ and culture in paradox typology can be summarised as follows: first, humanity is both good and evil, both spirit and body, both material and immaterial. Humanity is in revolt against God and in revolt against humanity. This is referred to as homo duplex: as spirit and body, as transcendent person and as empirical individual. Second, God is deus duplex in that while He provides grace and mercy through Jesus Christ, there is wrath and darkness in the world, as epitomized by culture and nature. Third, the world is equally a paradox. It is mundus duplex. It is both created and fallen, both good and corrupt and has the potential for good and for evil. At the same time God can still do good in the evil world and culture. Martin Luther, Reinhold Niebuhr, Emil Brunner, and Karl Barth are some of the forerunners of this typology.

The Christ transforming culture typology is perhaps Niebuhr’s preferred typology of the relationship between Christ and culture. This typology synthesizes the Christ above culture and the Christ and culture in paradox typologies. It does not overtly reject culture and nature. In fact, the conversion and transformation of culture by Christ is the most important motif of this typology. Christ has come to restore those elements in culture that had lost the “glory of God.” Therefore, Christian revelation does not function as an alternative to reason, but rather its proper perspective is in its attempt to redeem both reason and knowledge. After the October 18 prayers, the challenge remains for all Zambians to see how they can help transform the political culture of this nation beyond shouting religious slogans.

H. Richard Niebuhr

H. Richard Niebuhr



Munshya, Elias (2015). God and Politics: An analysis of Niebuhr’s typologies in the Zambian context. Elias Munshya Blog ( (23 October 2015).

After We Have Said “Amen”: Towards a Pentecostal theology of politics in Zambia

Elias Munshya, LL.M, MBA, M.Div.

Bishop Kaweme

Bishop Kaweme

Pentecostal church leaders in Zambia are almost unanimous. They will heed President Edgar Lungu’s call to prayer, fasting and reconciliation on Sunday, October 18, 2015. Bishop Johnny Kaweme of the Fire Baptised Church released a statement on 11 October 2015 stating that, “it is our considered view that the National Day of Prayer, Reconciliation and Restoration as called upon by our Republican President be observed by all our churches.” Capital Christian Ministries International president and founder Bishop George Mbulo quoted 2 Chronicles 7:14 and requested that “ALL peace loving Zambians who love the Lord and believe prayer answers all things, to a special National Day of Prayer and Fasting Service, to be held on the 18th of October as declared by our Republican President HE Edgar Chagwa Lungu.” Gospel Envoys Church leader, Pastor Choolwe stated emphatically that, “we encourage all to know that we will unwaveringly support any public nationwide recognition of our Lord Jesus Christ by any government both now and in the future. Political affiliation of governing authorities is inconsequential to the basis for our stance; we are Jesus driven.” Bishop Safwali and countless others have echoed similar sentiments. There is a general consensus among Pentecostal believers that Zambia needs to pray and President Lungu has decided correctly to call for a day of prayer.

Kaunda, Chiluba and Banda

Kaunda, Chiluba and Banda

The sentiments expressed by these church leaders are not very unusual for Pentecostals. Theologically, Zambian Pentecostals are a very diverse bunch with various streams. The first stream is what I would call the classical Pentecostals. These are denominations such as the Pentecostal Assemblies of God Zambia (PAOGZ) and the Pentecostal Holiness Church (PHC). Classical Pentecostal churches are spread throughout the nation. They also have a very centralized leadership structure. The next stream is the “Word of Faith” movements which has some sentiments of classical Pentecostals but also emphasize some form of a “prosperity gospel”. Churches such as Dr. Nevers Mumba’s Victory Ministries would fit this category. The third stream in the Pentecostal movement are the newer independent churches with strong emphasis on “prophetism”. Of all the streams, this is the one that is closest to Zambian traditional religions and worldviews. This stream has basically blurred the distinctions between the traditional Zambian spiritism and the evangelical Christian praxis. This stream is the most syncretic of all the streams. This third stream can be found among some churches with prophets who encourage their members to say slogans such as “go deeper Papa”, as they perform divinations, foretell their followers’ fortunes and perform miracles.

The fourth stream of Zambian Pentecostals are the charismatic groups which essentially broke away from mainline denominations such as the United Church of Zambia (UCZ) and the Reformed Church in Zambia (RCZ). The Grace Ministries Mission International (GMMI) and the Bible Gospel Church in Africa (BIGOCA) would belong to this fourth stream. Perhaps the only mainline church that has managed to stem any breakaway of its charismatic wing is the Church of Rome. These four streams of Zambian Pentecostals are by no means exhaustive and in many cases these streams intersect and overlap with each other very frequently.

The greatest political breakthrough for Pentecostals came in 1991 when Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba became president of Zambia. Chiluba was a member of the UCZ but was, in his faith practice, very charismatic and as such sympathetic to Pentecostalism. Reports suggest that Chiluba “spoke in tongues” after attending a Reinhard Bonkke crusade in Malawi in the late 1980s. Flanked by Bishop Chawuska M.M. Chihana and Pastor Ernest Chelelwa, President Frederick Chiluba stood between two pillars at State House on 29 December 1991 to declare Zambia “a Christian nation”. Both Chihana and Chelelwa have now changed their first names to Simon and Israel respectively. This is a very common occurrence among Pentecostals.

General Godfrey Miyanda, a Pentecostal, rose quickly within the ranks of Chiluba’s government and the Movement for Multiparty Democracy party (MMD). A few years into Chiluba’s term, Miyanda rose to become Vice-President of the republic. As such, between 1993 and 1996, the top two executive officers of the Zambian republic were members of the Pentecostal movement, giving the Pentecostal movement both visibility and huge political clout. Pentecostals only lost this clout after the infamous fall of Frederick Chiluba. Subsequent presidents have largely ignored Pentecostals.

Elias Munshya, LLM, M.A., MBA, M.Div.

Elias Munshya, LLM, M.A., MBA, M.Div.

However, after President Lungu’s call for prayer and fasting slated for Sunday October 18, 2015, it is not surprising that Pentecostals were among the first churches to support the prayers. Some are even believing that after October 18, 2015, the local currency will gain in value against the American dollar and the nation will “be blessed”. Pentecostal political theology, however, needs to go beyond the rhetoric of slogans. After we have said “amen” on Sunday, there is a need for all Zambians to continue holding President Lungu accountable to democratic tenets. Pentecostals should not repeat the same mistakes made during the tenure of Frederick Chiluba. Their theology must be informed by equality and the respect for human rights. A Pentecostal political theology must be based on hard work and a commitment to the rule of law. A Pentecostal political theology must refuse the lure of “kaloba” taken from the government of China which bans the free exercise of the Christian faith in its country. A Pentecostal political theology must be informed by a positive outlook that Zambia can change, and that the creator has given the tools necessary for Zambia to change for the better. A Pentecostal political theology must be based on clear commitment to the fight against corruption in both government and the private sector. It is not enough to shout slogans. It is not enough to quote 2 Chronicles 7:14, Zambian Pentecostals must walk the talk and live their devotions. After we have all said “amen” I just hope that it will mark the renewal of a Pentecostal theology of politics in Zambia.

MMD President Nevers Mumba

MMD President Nevers Mumba



Munshya, E. (2015). After We Have Said “Amen”: Towards a Pentecostal theology of politics in Zambia. Elias Munshya Blog ( (15 October 2015)

Turning Water Into Paraffin: Towards a pentecostal theology of miracles

E. Munshya, LLM, M.Div.

From my upbringing as a child, to the present, I remain indebted to the nurturing I received as a member of the Pentecostal movement. I am forever grateful to my aunt’s church, which used to meet in a rented classroom at Chabanyama Primary School in Chingola. I learned to have faith in God. Pentecostalism’s greatest strength lies in its ability to help people believe that God is on their side, that he is working for their good, and that they will be used “greatly by God”. Critics of the Pentecostal movement miss an important character of the movement: its ability to create dreams and foster human imagination.

Even though the Pentecostal-charismatic movement has had a long history in Zambia, it remains only but a young movement. As such, just like any other movement, Pentecostals must have a conversation among themselves. They must create a dialogue. Unless we talk to each other, we might lose our impact. It is understandable that of all brands of Christianity, Pentecostalism is the closest to the African worldviews and mindsets. In fact, this is the reason why it is growing in Zambia: compatibility with African traditional religions and worldviews. It is this reality, taken together with current events in our movement that necessitate a reimagination of the Pentecostal theology of miracles.

Elias Munshya

Elias Munshya

A Pentecostal theology of miracles must be biblical. Simply quoting verses in the Bible does not necessarily mean that what someone is saying is biblical. It goes beyond that. The Bible must be interpreted as a whole. We must not just take a few verses here and there and make them suit our own explanations. We must look at it and let the Bible speak for itself. Those who teach the Bible, have a duty to rightly interpret it. From a biblical perspective, nearly each and every miracle Jesus performed was done to meet a need. Even when he was tempted to perform miracles as a show-off, our Lord resisted that temptation. It is to meet the need for social happiness, that Christ performed his first miracle, turning water into wine. Some preachers should refrain from purporting to perform miracles that have no semblance to meeting the immediate needs of the people.

A Pentecostal theology of miracles must have respect for human dignity. God loves people. God loves human beings. It is his love for human beings that he sent his Son to die on the cross. The idea that some prophets are using the anointing in ways that violate human dignity is repugnant to the Bible. It gives the good movement of Pentecostalism a very depraved image. We have seen it on video, where a preacher kicks into the tummy of a pregnant woman as a way of transmitting a miracle. Kicking a pregnant woman is a violation of human dignity and integrity. The practice of kicking people into miracles is indeed an innovation and departs quite significantly from the biblical imperative. Another video shows a preacher jumping on the bodies of people lying on the floor and is seen springing on the back and buttocks of a woman. The jumping on the bokosi of a woman is justified by the preacher stating, “all things are possible”. We cannot use the dignity of the anointing in ways that violate the integrity of people’s bodies. Regardless of how we spin it, kicking and jumping on bokosi does not add to the biblical cause.

A Pentecostal theology of miracles should be guided by common sense. Common sense is a gift of God. To say that God wants his people to discard common sense is actually nonsense. Faith does not mean we should abandon simple common sense. When Scripture says we can do all things, it is literally not “all things” that we can do. There are some things we should not do. While it is true that a barren woman can miraculously conceive, it is unbiblical to teach that the barren woman should get holy sperm from a prophet. Certainly, the statement that we can do all things has some limits. It is these limits that some in Pentecostal circles are daily blurring and expanding.

Being anointed is just one of the things that a successful church needs to have. In addition to the anointing, we need common sense and some exposure to an education. Education helps to preserve a revival. We can almost predict the future of any ministry by looking at their attitude towards people, towards common sense and towards education. It is through an education that you can know that the distinctions between “major” and “minor” prophets has nothing to do with the ranks of prophets but has everything to do with the size of a particular book in the Hebrew Canon. Isaiah’s book is “Major”, not because Isaiah is greater in rank than prophet Micah, but because Isaiah is a bigger book than Micah. Prophets Elias and Elisha never wrote a book, are they lesser prophets? Satan hates an anointed and educated people.

Some in our movement occasionally disparage education. Theological education is a frequent casualty. Ironic that some who oppose education go hunting for dubious honorary doctorate degrees and insist on being addressed as “doctor”. Leaders of our movement must go to school and stop the false security found in honorary doctorates. There is a good number who merits honorary degrees, but this should not be an excuse for the movement leaders not going to school.

I must state that only a few are spoiling the Pentecostal movement. Nevertheless, university campuses are now filled with educated and anointed Pentecostals, the future of our movement belongs to them. I know of a ministry started by a university graduate who is doing very well “winning souls” without resorting to magic shows. Genuine prophets and teachers are laboring in our compounds by spreading the empowering message of the gospel. Such need our commendation. Our movement is young. Our movement is growing. But it needs a conversation that is biblical, that respects human dignity, and has a dose of common sense.


Elias Munshya is an ordained pentecostal minister. He served as lecturer and principal at the Grace Theological College in Lusaka, Zambia from 2001 to 2007. He holds several academic degrees from seminaries in Swaziland, South Africa, the USA and Canada.

A Nation of Ba Chakolwa: My position on Pilato’s “A Lungu Anabwera”

E. Munshya, LLM, M.Div.

Chama Fumba’s “A Lungu Anabwera” is most likely defamatory, disparaging, insulting and slanderous. No matter how we spin it, stating that President Edgar Chagwa Lungu is a “clueless drunkard from Chawama who came with suitcases full of ‘Kachasu’” is, quite probably, defamatory. The problem is not really whether Chama has defamed, but rather what we should do about it. At the moment, the police in their usual unusual prudence have charged Mr. Chama Fumba with “breach of peace”. We will see how that pans out in court.

By plagiarizing Pichen Kazembe, Chama reminds us of the glorious days of Zambian (or is it Luapula) music. Kazembe made music at a time when musicians chorded authentic tunes playing real instruments. Unlike currently, where any person with a comedy crammed voice can computer-synthesize a beat without ever learning how to play an instrument, artists of old were really artistes, par-excellence. Chama and his group of present-day artists have a lot to learn from the likes Kazembe. Those were the days of Teddy Chilambe, whose song “bwesha umutengo” was a catalyst in the fall of the Kaunda dictatorship. At a time when Chiluba was mounting in popularity, P.K. Chishala had a different look at events and with his guitar chimed rhymes of nonconformity in “Common Man”. With Maiko Zulu’s “Mad President” and Chama Fumba’s “Bufi” we are almost assured that the tradition of doing political songs will continue, albeit now without the sounds of original instruments.

Chama Fumba as Pilato

Chama Fumba as Pilato

Chama Fumba is obviously wrong in his exploration of “a Lungu ana bwera”. He uses the late Sata’s words to paint a picture that Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) members joining the Patriotic Front (PF) are so wicked that they should not be brought any closer to this “a Lungu ba ku Chawama.” What Chama fails to acknowledge is that in actual fact, both the PF and the UPND are going after former members of the MMD to an equal degree. PF is welcoming MMD members and so is the UPND. To suggest otherwise is ridiculous. One of the MPs who signed as surety for Chama’s bail is an MMD member working very closely with Hakainde. The UPND has attracted many MMD members such as Maureen Mwanawasa, Mutale Nalumango, Canisius Banda, Maxwell Mwale, Katele Kalumba and many others. So the MMD blue chameleons are not only turning into green, but are also turning into red, Hakainde’s colour. How is it intolerable for “A Lungu” to welcome MMD members to PF and yet it is tolerable for Bo Chama Fumba’s UPND to welcome MMD members? This is a fundamental problem with the UPND, it condemns others for stuff that it is, itself, doing.

We all know that had it not been for Rupiah Banda, the PF would have lost the 2015 elections to Hakainde Hichilema. The unpopularity of the PF in 2015 was unfortunately, a consequence of the way the late President Sata ruled our country. The brave person, in fact, to articulate us that Sata was not such a stellar president is Chama Fumba himself in his lyrics of the songs “Bufi” and “Pilato na kateka”. Now that it is convenient for him, he uses the words of the very Sata to fortify his support for the UPND. So nomba, ba Sata ba wama?

In “a Lungu ana bwera”, Chama Fumba quotes Sata’s words about “inkondo kuba Lozi”. Here is a guy named Chama, using a Bemba named Sata, talking about “aba Lozi”. What is it that the great people of Barotseland have done to Pilato? Couldn’t he have quarreled with Lungu, without involving the Lozi people? The Barotseland issue is complicated. It is just so unfair to drag Lozis into fights that Bembas are fermenting with abena Chipata. “Inkondo kuba Lozi”, as used in Pilato’s song, is not a chuckling matter. There are some of our citizens in Barotseland that have genuine concerns over how Kaunda and his successors dribble them. Chama should be penning a song asking KK to correct the injustice he started rather than quoting Sata over this. Uku kudelela, aba Lozi.

Is Zambia a nation of

Is Zambia a nation of “ba chakolwa”?

Having established how useless Chama Fumba’s song is, I must then turn to what we must do about it. We Zambians are really “chakolwas”. I do not, in any way, mean that we are all addicts to “Lutuku” or “Jameson”, but rather that we are hooked on a drug much more toxic than Kachasu. And this drug is known as “power”. The only way we know to deal with problems is to use force. We really are obsessed with guns, bombs and bullets. Kaunda “tatu fundile bwino” with our reliance on intimidation. To counter the baseless song from Chama Fumba’s Pilato character we went for the overkill. We sent police to go search for him. We used our powercoholism. We are powerholics in need of powerholics anonymous. I was taken aback by suggestions from the good people of our country that Chama Fumba needed to be silenced for this horrible song. Calling for Chama’s blood is hardly the best way to respond.

A lot of things were problematic under the rule of Michael Chilufya Sata, as Chama testified in “Bufi” and “Pilato na Kateka”. However, by going to court to assert his own private rights when he sued this newspaper’s editor for defamation, Sata left for us an example. A president of our republic who is defamed should enforce his private rights to sue the defamers. The use of force each time a president is defamed, is an act that should rightly belong to the old and tired regime of Kenneth Kaunda. In our democracy, we now have freedom to speak, and sing, some funny and foolish things. Police cells should not be the right place to correct human foolishness and naïve stupidity. If we respond by force to all manner of folly, we will be venerating foolishness unjustifiably. As Frederick Chiluba rightly put it: “imfumu taituka bantu, abantu ebatuke mfumu”.

I disagree with Chama Fumba, but I do defend his right to freely express his opinions, including out-rightly silly ones. And if the consequence of Chama’s “pakamwa” were that the defamed sues him for slander, I would support such a lawsuit. However, the use of force, police, and prosecutors should be reserved for stuff more felonious such as corrupt nolle prosequies in Lusaka, theft of bicycles in Malambo, or shootings in Mulobezi.

Munshya wa Munshya

Munshya wa Munshya

Mothers’ Rights: Women, the Law and culture when obtaining National Registration Cards (NRCs) in Zambia

E. Munshya, LLM, M.Div.

There have been reports that single mothers are having a hard time obtaining National Registration Cards (NRCs) for their children due to the demands by some registration officers for details of the father of those children before they are issued NRCs. The Non-Governmental Organisation Coordinating Council (NGOCC) has rightly observed that such demands by some registration officers are not only illegal but also disenfranchise a generation of voters. While it is true that it is only a few registration officers guilty of these illegalities, I believe that even if we had one case, it would still be one case too many. In modern Zambia, there should be no reason why mothers should be denied to register their children simply because they do not or cannot supply the details of the father of those children.

Edith Nawakwi

Edith Nawakwi

I do believe that some registration officers could have fundamentally misunderstood our current laws. According to our current laws, both the mother and the father are equal before the law as far as the family is concerned. Women are no longer legally subservient to men. As such, the father is not legally more of a parent than a mother is. Any woman who is a mother or guardian of a child has all the rights that a man who is father has over that child. These rights include the ability to obtain NRCs for their children. As such, for NRC officers to demand that a mother produces a letter or proof of paternal parentage goes against the current law.

According to the ruling of Lewanika and others v. Chiluba, a National Registration Card does not confer Zambian citizenship. The card merely registers Zambian citizenship. That being the case, when interpreting who and how should one obtain an NRC we must go to the constitution and find out how one acquires citizenship. Children born of a Zambian father or mother become citizens of our republic. In the case of women, it really does not matter the citizenship of the man who made them pregnant. A Zambian woman, who bears a child fathered by a Malawian, transmits Zambian citizenship to that child. When the time comes for the registration of that child, the mother could go to the NRC officers, swear an affidavit and have that child obtain their NRC.

Perhaps the most significant case that dealt with this issue is Nawakwi v. Attorney General (1991). Let me restate some facts. Ms. Nawakwi applied for the renewal of her passport. That passport had endorsed in it the names of her two children born out of wedlock. When she had applied for this original passport, the NRC officials made her swear affidavits whose effects were to make her appear like a secondary factor with regard to her legal rights. At the time of renewing that passport, the NRC officers asked her to produce written consent from the fathers of the children and swear more affidavits to that effect. She refused and commenced legal proceedings.

The ruling of Mr. Justice Claver Musumali was clear. Zambian law should recognise single parent headed families. The demand by the Passport Office for a father’s consent was illegal and Ms. Nawakwi did not need permission from the biological father of these children to put them in her passport. Justice Musumali did not have choice words for the Zambian government. He stated:

It is not at all justified … for a father to treat himself or to be treated by the institutions of society to be more entitled to the affairs of his child/ren than the mother of that child or those children.

Musumali then rightly declared, “the mother is as much an authority over the affairs of her child/ren as the father is.” These words from the Nawakwi case are powerful to shatter any doubts from a few NRC officers who are blocking women from obtaining NRCs.

Munshya wa Munshya

Munshya wa Munshya

I must then add another dimension to this discussion. Zambian peoples are quite diverse. Patrilineal tribes in Zambia derive inheritance and the family tree through the father. Matrilineal tribes, on the other hand, derive inheritance and the family tree through the mother. With such diversity, it is ridiculous for NRC officials to insist on the identity of fathers only at the expense of mothers. To be clear, matrilineal tribes do not have family names, in the same way, as patrilineal tribes do. In patrilineal tribes the practice is that all children are given the last name of the father and that name becomes the family name or the surname, as the case may be. It is this last name through which “patrilineals” can know their clan and their family tree. In matrilineal tribes, this is not the case as the last name of a person has very little to do with the clan or the family tree to which that individual should belong. For example, patrilineal families from the East could sustain the last name of “Jere” derived from the father. That Jere name in fact could go on to tell you the clan of the person. It is not so among “matrilineals”, since you cannot tell someone’s family tree simply by the last name. The family tree and clan are derived from the mother. So in Luapula, there is no such thing as “Munshya” being a clan or family name, it is simply a name. For one to figure out a clan, they must ask the mother of Munshya. A last name in Luapula doesn’t mean as much as it does among patrilineal tribes. When obtaining NRCs, therefore, there is likely to be confusion when a mother from a matrilineal tribe shows up with her children all bearing differing “surnames”, even if they have the same biological father. This could be bewildering to NRC officials, but it shouldn’t. It is cultural reality for most of our people.

I appeal to all of our citizens, far and wide, women as well as men, to do the right thing and register their Zambian children freely and without fear. To the great women of our country, feel free to exercise the liberties afforded by your sacred citizenship to transmit it to your children without recourse to the men who made you pregnant. To the NRC officials, keep doing a good job, but for those officers who are unsure of the law, read Nawakwi again and let the women obtain NRCs for their children.

President Lungu greets Edith Nawakwi at an SDA event

President Lungu greets Edith Nawakwi