Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa appears to have acceded to pressure from church and civic lobby groups in his country for him to urgently address the problem of high-profile corruption—a major threat to the Southern African nation's ailing economy.

Viewed by many in his own country as a puppet of former president Frederick Chiluba, Mwanawasa astounded many when he asked Zambia's parliament on July 12 to lift his predecessor's immunity to face trial for corruption and abuse of office.

"Chiluba and his senior aides must answer certain charges, they must explain," Mwanawasa told parliamentarians.

About a month earlier, Mwanawasa had come under attack from leaders of the (Roman Catholic) Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC), the Christian Council of Zambia (CCZ) and the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) who accused him of condoning corruption and failing to deliver on his pre-election pledge to turn around Zambia's economy.

Citing a catalogue of cases, Mwanawasa told the parliament that Chiluba had ordered Zambia's Treasury to pay a Belgium-based Congolese businessman a deposit of $20.5 million for the supply of armaments never delivered to Zambia.

The new president charged further that Chiluba, a former trade unionist, also paid from a special bank account millions of dollars to members of his family and associates and that he failed to account for $47 million during the privatization of Roan Antelope Mining Corporation, a Zambian company.

"It is up to you to take action," Mwanawasa told parliament. "I have offered you the facts."

Father Ignatius Mwebe, the ZEC secretary-general had previously been quoted as saying in Edicisa News, a newsletter of the Ecumenical Documentation and Information Centre for Southern Africa: "Since President ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

July/August
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Read These Next
Current IssueWant to Help Christians Stay in the Middle East? Start with Your Vacation.
Want to Help Christians Stay in the Middle East? Start with Your Vacation. Subscriber Access Only
Both pilgrims and pleasure seekers allow Arab believers to resist exodus amid ISIS.
RecommendedHow Discipleship Is Transforming Nairobi, One Woman at a Time
How Discipleship Is Transforming Nairobi, One Woman at a Time
Women in urban East Africa face challenges that are both unique and universal.
TrendingKay Warren: 'We Were in Marital Hell'
Kay Warren: 'We Were in Marital Hell'
Through God's work in our lives, we've beaten the odds that divorce would be the outcome of our ill-advised union.
Editor's PickThe Church's Biggest Challenge in 2017
The Church's Biggest Challenge in 2017
Let’s get unchurched evangelicals back into church, and prejudiced evangelicals back to the Bible.
Christianity Today
Zambian President Takes Action After Churches Criticize Him
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

August 2002

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.