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Last Updated: Monday, 2 June, 2003, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
From TV evangelist to Zambia's vice president
By Penny Dale
BBC, Lusaka, Zambia

Nevers Mumba
Mumba is on a mission to cleanse Zambia of corruption
Never in the history of Zambian politics has someone's rise to power been so meteoric as that of Nevers Mumba.

Almost overnight, Mr Mumba has moved from being an unimpressive opposition leader to holding the country's second most prestigious political job.

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 through Christ.

He is well known not just in Zambia but also in Namibia, Uganda, South Africa, Canada and the US.


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, people rejoice.

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 Coalition party.

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.

Zambians split over woman leader
02 May 03  |  Africa
Country profile: Zambia
27 May 03  |  Country profiles

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