By Penny Dale
BBC, Lusaka, Zambia
Never in the history of Zambian politics has
someone's rise to power been so meteoric as that of Nevers Mumba.
Mumba is on a mission to cleanse Zambia of corruption
Almost overnight, Mr Mumba has moved from being an unimpressive opposition leader to holding the country's second most prestigious
But who is he?
He is perceived as a man who is driven as much by his deep religious
conviction as his boundless ambition.
The 42-year-old Mumba was born in the north of Zambia in Chinsali, reputed to be the true heartland of the Bemba people.
He is married to Florence, who apparently after the fifth child, stopped Mumba from fulfilling his desire for siring 12 children.
His mother is one of the sisters of Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia's first president.
Mumba greatly admires Mr Kaunda, but unlike the former president, Mumba is better known as a preacher than a politician.
The founder of the well-known Victory Ministries, he
made his name as a fiery TV evangelist.
He studied theology in the United States and for close
to two decades he has pulled in huge crowds,
preaching with eloquence a message of hope and dignity
He is well known not just in Zambia
but also in Namibia, Uganda, South Africa, Canada and
In his own words, he heard God telling him
to save Zambia through the ballot box.
His vision is to cleanse the country of corruption and improve the
living standards of ordinary Zambians.
Mr Mumba says he is guided by the message of the
the scriptures that say when the righteous rule,
I first met him five or so years ago, when he was
putting the final touches to his transformation from
priest to politician.
At the time he was doing the African media
rounds in London, promoting his National Citizens
He struck me as charismatic and extremely
well-dressed in stylish clothes and the phrase 'salvation
through prosperity' unkindly popped into my mind.
He did not strike me as a political animal.
He is intelligent and highly articulate but his silver tongue and his other charming qualities were not enough when he stood for
president in Zambia's 2001 elections.
Out of the 11
candidates, Mumba's was one of the more spectacular
flops, when he polled only 2% of the vote.
According to his biography, Mumba loves boxing - a
peculiar taste for a preacher - but perhaps less so for
a politician who very often displays the flamboyant
aggression of a boxer.