Two weeks ago, Pastor Nevers Mumba was in India on a working vacation where he also addressed foreign investors. We got curious about his trip and we called to ask him who was sponsoring. He said at the end of every year, he travels out of the country, and this particular progarmme in India was sponsored by an American friend of his from Pennsylvania. A few things surprised us about this development, but we withheld our opinion at that point because it was not within our space to poke our noses into someone’s private life.
But when Pastor Nevers Mumba returned from India, his first public statement was to complain that he, and his friends who have served this country as vice-presidents are languishing because they were not given enough money to sustain their livelihoods after they left their jobs.
“Without disturbing the spirit of mourning [the late Lupando Mwape], I wish to raise a pivotal issue which relates to the plight of former vice-presidents in Zambia. Although Vice Presidents actually act as President and play a significant role in the management of the nation, the occupants of that office have zero sustainable benefits once they leave office. The only sure retirement benefit has been a state funeral at death,” wrote Pastor Mumba, adding that he was speaking on behalf of others and not to benefit himself.
We can’t hold back our opinion anymore. We want to agree in order to disagree with Pastor Mumba. We want to thank him for bringing up the topic that will enable us question the justification of certain benefits that some government leaders take home after retirement. But first, we would like to weigh in on Pastor Mumba’s personal predicament, and it doesn’t matter if he was talking for himself or for others.
It’s like us at News Diggers suggesting that government must consider paying a percentage of salaries for private media journalists because they also serve the public; then claim that we are not talking for ourselves but for others. People will know that we are fooling them. Why is former vice-president Enock Kavindele not the one complaining? Why is this not coming from former vice-president Godfrey Miyanda? It is because Mr Mumba’s colleagues are living within their means.
We recall that when Pastor Mumba was at the peak of building his brand in God’s ministry, he was blessed with a huge house in a respected Kitwe suburb called Riverside. But he doesn’t own that House anymore. As far as we know, he sold it. With the grace of God on his side, Pastor Mumba got an opportunity to serve as vice-president of Zambia. He had everything at his disposal, and didn’t need to spend his money on anything.
When Pastor Mumba was relieved of his duties as Vice-President of Zambia, he didn’t leave with an empty briefcase and a Bible under his armpits; he was paid gratuity like every other appointee of the President who qualifies. This gratuity was calculated equal to his pay, and his pay was calculated equal to his job.
If this money was not given to Pastor Mumba, he had, and still has the right to sue government and demand his dues. Any cheap lawyer can easily win him that matter if that was the case. But the truth is that he got what was due to him.
Pastor Mumba doesn’t drink alcohol. He doesn’t go to nightclubs to party with girls. So what did he do with his money? As far as we know, he used part of his money to buy a beautiful house on Chikwa Road in Lusaka. But does he still own that house? No, we are reliably informed that he sold it.
When Pastor Mumba was serving as Zambia’s High Commissioner to Canada, he was getting a decent salary, plus allowances. When he was recalled, he didn’t just return with a fancy gigantic pickup truck that he was shining with around the city; he was paid gratuity for the period he served abroad – like everyone else. What did he do with that money? We don’t know, maybe he can tell us.
But what we know for sure is that on his return from Canada, there wasn’t a house he could decently return to. Government accommodated him at Fallsway Villas, where he used to call us for press briefings as he took over the MMD presidency from Mr Rupiah Banda. Later, a house was found for him to rent in Kabulonga.
Today if Pastor Mumba is struggling to sustain himself, the blame shouldn’t be on government. Not every Zambian can have the privilege of serving in these government positions, so we can’t see why the privileged few should demand that government sustains their livelihoods until they die. This was a service to the people and not an endless reign of a monarch in a kingdom. The Zambian taxpayers did their part to thank Pastor Mumba for serving them as Vice-President, it was up to him to stay afloat by investing wisely.
We can’t preach to Pastor Mumba about anything that the Lord says because he knows better. But we can remind him when we think his memory has faltered. The Bible in Mathew 25:14 teaches us about a Master who decided to test the industrious abilities of his servants. Before embarking on a journey, the Master called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one, he gave five talents, to another two, and to the last one he gave just one talent – each according to his ability. The other two went and invested, and they reaped profits which they were able to report back to their returning Master. But the one who got only one talent had gone to bury it underground and he had nothing to point at, claiming it was too little and too risky to invest. This servant was thrown into the darkness, where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Unfortunately, this is the situation that Pastor Nevers Mumba finds himself in. He is weeping and gnashing his teeth from the wilderness because he didn’t invest as wisely as his friends. If Pastor Mumba had invested wisely, he would not be relying on his friend to sponsor his end of year vacation. That friend of his has never been a Vice President of his country, how are they able to sponsor the former vice-president of Zambia on vacation? It should be Nevers sending money from his massive investments to his friend.
That said; we are not in a position to suggest that Pastor Mumba is broke. We have no access to his bank records and we don’t know what assets he owns. But we are simply trying to illustrate the dependency syndrome that most of us Zambians have. We are quick to blame the system for any misery that we face, even if we are entirely to blame. It’s the “boma iyanganepo” mentality that is at play in Pastor Mumba’s head.