International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Zambia, a ‘Christian nation’ in Post Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) Era, 2011-2016
Austin M. Cheyeka

The declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation in 1991 has become a field of research because of its many faces, the interpretations it has accrued which generate debate and things it has spawned; numerous Pentecostal churches and political parties with the ‘Christian’ name tag. What is more, it has given birth to organizations such as ‘Christian Nation Coalition’, ‘Christian Nation Foundation’ and most significant, a national chapel (House of Prayer for All Nations Tabernacle) yet to be constructed in the capital city next to State house where the declaration occurred. In this article I extend my research on the Christian nation rhetoric beyond Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) era, by examining its status during the Patriotic Front rule from 2011 to 2016, before the August 11, 2016 general elections. In 2011 the party of the president who declared Zambia a Christian nation lost power to a new party of Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata, a staunch Catholic, who, after his demise, was succeeded by Edgar Chagwa Lungu of unknown religious or denominational affiliation. I argue in the article that while Sata hardly used the Christian nation rhetoric, Lungu made the most of it during his campaign thereby revitalizing the Christian nation fervor and prompting some Pentecostal big men and women to rally around him. My stark conclusion is that: Lung perceptively reconfigured the Christian nation rhetoric for political mileage. His main opponent in the 2016 presidential race was rumored to be a Satanist – a most dreaded being among Christians, especially Pentecostals in Zambia.

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