Four Church Members in Zambia Hold Government Positions
Brother Bruce and Sister Vonda Louthan, Public Affairs, Zambia, and Lillian Shea, National Public Affairs Director for Zambia
All four officials joined the Church in the 1990s and are long on experience in leadership callings.
Zambia currently has four members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serving in significant positions of government- Sister Alfrieda Mwamba , and Brothers Bob Sichinga, Patrick Chikusu, and McBride Sekeleti . Of the total 13.9 million population of Zambia, only a small percentage are members of the Church. It is amazing that four Church members would be elected or chosen for high public office at the same time!
All four officials joined the Church in the 1990s and are long on experience in leadership callings. All show the truth of the saying that “overnight success” follows years of laboring in obscurity. All have served for years in various positions of responsibility in Church and the community.
Of the four, Bob Sichinga, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, is an appointed Member of Parliament and the highest ranking officer. Sister Alfrieda Mwamba is in her second term in parliament and serves as Deputy Minister of Justice. Dr. Patrick Chikusu is Deputy Minister of Health. McBride Sekeleti, a novice politician, oversees delivery of public services.
With these four members serving faithfully in church and government, local members are encouraged to strive even more diligently to spread the blessings of the Gospel in Zambia.
The Honourable Robert Sichinga
The Honourable Robert Sichinga has been involved in politics since before he and his family joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1998. His political career began in his home area Mafinga. After moving to Kafue, he won election again. Brother Sichinga was recently appointed by Zambia’s President to be the Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry where he currently serves.
Brother Sichinga hopes to address the challenge of high unemployment in the country. His goal is to create jobs which will develop greater self-reliance and self-worth among the people. In turn, stable new jobs could lead to lead to a stronger economic base for Zambia.
Being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has motivated Brother Sichinga to do better. He is inspired by something bigger than just the job. He also sees the opportunity to improve and correct people’s impressions of the Church. Recently, Brother Sichinga participated on a radio broadcast in Lusaka and was able to clarify previous misconceptions about the Church. Brother Sichinga serves in his branch as Gospel Doctrine Teacher. He has also been a member of the National Public Affairs Committee for the Church.
The Honourable Alfrieda Mwamba
The Honourable Alfrieda Mwamba’s family was one of the first to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1993 in Zambia. She and her husband raised five children in the Church. Now they have a grandchild who is a third generation member of the Church in Zambia.
In 2006 The Honourable Alfrieda Mwamba was elected to Parliament by a large margin. She served briefly as Deputy Minister of Finance. She is now in her second term in Parliament. The Honourable Alfrieda Mwamba has a law degree and has just been named Deputy Minister of Justice.
Sister Mwamba always wanted to speak for the poor as they were unable to speak for themselves.
She is working to improve conditions in the country to benefit all of the people. She sees the Church Welfare Services Programme as a good model for the Nation.
The Honorable Dr. Patrick Chikusu
The Honourable Dr. Patrick Chikusu has been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 1996. Following his election to Parliament in 2011, Brother Chikusu was appointed Deputy Minister of Health. A pharmacist by profession, Brother Chikusu was a consultant to the Worldwide Health Organization (WHO) prior to entering politics.
In 2001 Brother Chikusu wanted to run for parliament and went to the temple to ask of the Lord. The answer was a clear “No”. But he stood for election anyway- and lost. He went to the Lord again and was told, “Not yet.” Then in 2011 he went to the temple in prayer about seeking government office. This time the Lord answered, “Go ahead.”
Dr Chikusu’s ethics and high standards are making an impact in the government. He requested the women working in his office wear modest, professional office attire. He soon noticed women in the other offices in the ministry had adopted similar dress standards. He returned extra money that was not used when he travelled for the government. Sister Chikusu says people appreciate her husband’s honesty and are learning from his good example.
Brother MacBride Sekeleti is an energetic young businessman who volunteers his time as a ward councilor [member of the city council] for Lusaka City. He has served in many positions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints including four years as a branch president, and four years as a member of the district high council.
Brother Sekeleti started in politics in 2011. He was motivated by a desire to help people in the community with their problems, especially improving the lives of the poor. He currently serves as one of ten ward councilors for Lusaka city.
He works directly with the country’s national vice president to oversee delivery of public services and promote honesty in government. Completion of several utility projects is a high priority for Brother Sekeleti. His goal is that the benefits of government will reach all levels of society including the very poor.