Ethnic Imbalance in the Zambian Catholic Body


Ethnic Imbalance in the Zambian Catholic Body

By Kapambwe Simpasa

Date: 23/11/11

Yesterday, the Zambia Conference for Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) issued a pastoral letter addressing various issues in the country, providing guidelines, and occasionally making demands.

Following their long-standing tradition, this pastoral letter, similar to a state-of-the-nation address, will be read across the Republic in all Catholic churches on Sunday, November 12, 2023.

I observed that the letter was couched in advisory language, where, even as the Conference praised the leadership, they simultaneously demanded better performance, bordering on perfection—a scenario reminiscent of “giving with one hand and taking with the other.”

Despite the sensitivities among fellow Catholics, I find these letters generally laden with generalities. The notable exception in this one is the singling out of the UPND Secretary General, Mr. Batuke Imenda, and the attempt to portray it as a view held by the party and government.

For the first time, the Conference has shown an attempt to close ranks and protect one of its own. However, the remarks from Archbishop Alick Banda, to which Mr. Imenda referred, were not made in the Council or in the capacity of the Council.

In my view, this is the most significant exposé of the behind-the-scenes dynamics of the Council.

It’s crucial to understand that the Council operates on a “collective responsibility” model where the majority holds sway.

Upon examining the Council’s composition, one can glean insights into the guidelines stemming from its meetings. Historians may find it intriguing to study the pattern of Council letters when the leader of the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) is not from what is now referred to as the North East region.

The Council’s emphasis on concerns about equality and diversity, among other matters, is commendable. However, it is shocking that they appear tone-deaf to the imbalance in the composition of their own body, the ZCCB, which primarily represents two regions.

The current makeup contradicts the spirit of equity and equality conveyed in the pastoral letter. Does this composition imply that only individuals from the North and East of Zambia predominantly pursue the Catholic priesthood to reach the level of Bishophood?

Most importantly, what measures is the Council implementing to reflect equity and equality? This question gains significance amidst the ongoing local conversation about historical ethnic segregation.

I believe that the Church, being present in all corners of our country, should take a lead in addressing this issue. The conversation on ethnic segregation parallels that of sexual misconduct, a topic the Church tried to deny until progressive leaders confronted it directly.

This is the leadership I yearn for from my Church at this particular moment in history.

Imagine the implications of an issue requiring a vote in the Council with its current composition.

I am aware that my opinion may attract criticism from members of the church and relatives of the Council members, but, above all, I am exercising my “right to hold an opinion and express it.”

Looking ahead, I anticipate a pastoral letter condemning public leader Sean Tembo for using offensive language against the Republican President, mocking and humiliating women’s biological makeup.

I look forward to the Council addressing public leader Mr. Kambwili for his tribal monologue.

I am eager for the ZCCB to denounce the PF for brutally attacking mourners at Leopards Hills Memorial Park, leaving some without limbs.

There are numerous issues I could list, and what is clear is that as Zambians, we should never shy away from holding those in various forms of the public sphere (politicians, NGOs, religious bodies) to the same standards of accountability.


  1. Interesting observation indeed. Our Bishops seem to be wolves in sheep’s clothing save for one, and conveniently turns out is Bishop of Monze in the South! Explains why there seems kambwili gbm or tembo clear tribal and insolent outbursts being an issue for these men of god???

    • The writer is just one of those uninformed idiots pretending to be educated.
      Catholic missionaries dominated Northern and eastern parts of this country. Did they care whom they will find in those regions?. Not. Can you be surprised to find that 60% of pastors in SDA are from southern Zambia? Would you be shocked that the majority western zambia dwellers are new apostolic?.
      Admission to priesthood isn’t by any chance miraculous but by anyone’s choice. The fact that the Norther and Eastern Zambia settlers were first introduced to Catholicism than SDA or other denominations it doesn’t make the ZCCB inclined to those regions even when it concerns Zambia.

      • Total nonsense and bullshit. This cannot be a reason for pure hypocrisy and discrimination by these Zombies, Monkeys and Rats. They should be ashamed of themselves.
        How dare they can criticise the UPND for the offence which they are guilty of. In a small group of Bishops, 60% are Bembas; 35% Ngonis leaving 5% for other regions to share!! Whatever it is, these Bishops are hypocrites!!

  2. I can honestly say that we should have listened to KK and others that warned us about these people.

    Just look at the tribalism from the praise singers above. Thank God they are in minority and are tarnishing the entire tribe.

    • You are just a tribalist and should not hide in what KK may have said or not. The same KK warned about the late former president Michael Sata that he was not presidential material but you never complained about the late’s failures just because he did not come from the South. And just for your information, the same KK endorsed the man you hate with passion later on.
      Sorry to disappoint you but not all of us are tribal as you and we will vote for president HH again. Instead of you rebuttaling what the author has written with facts about the perceived tribally imbalanced composition of the bishops, you start attacking an innocent tribe.
      There is a saying that those who come to justice must come with clean hands meaning if the so called bishops are claiming tribal inbalance in government, they should first show it in their organization.
      Personally I have no problem if an organization has more people from any certain tribe as long they have those positions on merit but I have a problem with people who want to see fault in others while they have the same faults.

      • I am not the tibalist here.

        Look at what your fellow tribesmen are writing, which prompted my response. So it is ok for only Tonga people to see or experience tribalism?

        Right now, Zambia is experiencing the worst tribalism, and because if is your tribe being favoured, you think it is right?

        And yes the same KK was correct about Sata, just as he was correct about your ka small god. Both these men have brought us untold problems. But at least Sata cared for the poor, and cost of living was a third what it is today under the conman thief.

        • That just proves my point. Who told you I’m tonga for you to think the people who have written above are my tribesmen or tonga? So anyone who supports UPND and president HH should be tonga according to you? You can deny being a tribalist all you want but already your statements have given you away, statements like “these people” which clearly shows you see yourself as not being part of “them”.
          And clearly you also don’t understand the dynamics of an economy. Claiming the cost of living was better under the late president Sata compared to now clearly shows that you absolutely have no idea about economic matters and what influence certain things an economy.

          • You do not have to be Tonga. You might be another one like Miles HaaSampa.

            All this noise because your tribalist tribesmates think there are not enough Tonga priests in the Catholic church? Maybe they do not want to become priests. Maybe some have chosen to be Freemasons. Their choice. When the Freemasons publish their statement to back their small god, I am sure Northern and eastners will not be represented. But you will not hear us complaining. So stop crying.

        • You and your pf are not coming back to power in Zambia again, and I promise you your neutral thinking tribes mate from your region are voting for hh with his cow head brain again in 2026. And since it will be his last term we ll request him to give the upnd cadres permission to sort out all pf thieves togather with these Catholic hooligans. They are on record of abuse children, in Rwanda they are on record of aidingass murder, the nuns are been fuck day and night by these same fick monks that to a false celibacy and busy cheating God.

    • That has been your narrative. ” They are the minority we can rule them” . We know bout it ! Let me tell, you are 100% wrong and you will be shocked… when we form our own country. Fools.

  3. Wow this is interesting indeed, the bible says before you talk about a peck in your friends eye remove the forest in your eyes first

  4. What country naimwe will you form.

    Who are the fools apa? The ones that want to keep Zambia as one country? The ones that rejected tribalism in 2021, only to vote in another tribalist liar?

    There is no minority tribe in Zambia, and anyone can be elected. Just like we elected Hakainde. He has failed not because he is Tonga, but because he has his own agenda and that of his foreign white masters. Only a small group of tribalist Tonga people blog here. There are many that cringe at the tribalism coming from their own tribe. Just like I did when my tribesmen were tribalist towards you people.

    So sit down quietly before you start hallucinating about forming your own country. It can never happen.

    • Very true. He can’t even see his own tribalism through his writings, I really feel sorry him. Any normal person can see it written all over just by reading his statements but busy calling others tribal and many bad names.

      • Every Zambian should know by now that there is no ‘pure’ tribe in Zambia. We are all ‘mixed’ tribes. And names along cannot confirm ones tribe. So whoever talks about tribalism is the tribalist. Besides Seventh day adventists are quite numerous towards the south and Catholic priests from south west are quite few

    • am
      Very true. He can’t even see his own tribalism through his writings, I really feel sorry for him. Any normal person can see it written all over just by reading his comments but busy calling others tribal and many bad names.


  5. If you have nothing to write about just keep quite. So you expected the Catholic bishops body to be full of Tongas and Lozis when Tongas prefer to pray and belong to SDA and Lozis to New Apostolic church. You author you must be very dull and very confused. And you are a very big tribalist. When we say Tongas see tribalism in everything around them they refuse! Instead of paying attention to what the Catholic Bishops are talking about you concentrated on looking at the names! Banda, Phiri, Zulu from Eastern! Mwenya, Chisanga, Bupe, from Northern! You can’t develop a country like that. This is what has contributed to this sudden economic mess we are in because leaders are concentrating on looking at names, where does he come from, what tribe is he or she. He is from Eastern , we can’t work with him! She’s from Northern, we cant work with her. The Catholic Bishops have brought wrongs that this government is doing, which if not corrected now, will put most leaders in this government in a lot of problems in future.

    • True.
      Leadership in our church has serious imbalances…
      The letter seem to be deliberately fight the president because he is not from north east.
      True to say… those north east think they are more Catholic than othérs…
      The church must look into that…

  6. Be petty with catholics at your own peril. If there is church or organisation that truthful in speaking on behalf of people is Catholics. If there is a church which is NEVER bulldozed by any individual priest is the Catholic. All the world Govts have come and gone it catholics have remained. I repeat don’t underrate the word of advise from them. Don’t be petty. These are not one man or one region pentecostal church well established well presented listen and act. Ask ECL he was told the truth by the Catholic Council he castigated them and he chose to go to individual priests in the catholics he is now fighting to come back. KINDLY DIFFERENCIATE BETWEEN THE COUNCIL AND INDIVIDUAL PRIESTS.

  7. These bishops are chosen on merit by the pope and besides they write exams and if your zambezi pipo are dull a d the don’t pass can be the problem with zccb no tell your zambezi pipo pass the exams and let on appointed as bishops .So stop dreaming barking like stray dig

  8. Like always, some people are missing point on this issue. It does not matter whether there are more people from any region as long they are there based on competence. There are many reasons why we many find that there are more people from any certain tribe are in the majority in certain organizations and some of which may be historical, cultural and other reasons but not because of being tribal.
    However, the problem is that most of these the people defending the bishops’ composition are quick to label others tribal just when they see a certain tribe is in majority in an organization without trying to understand the reasons behind it.
    So people should not use double standards when making judgements on issues, otherwise, the same measure will be used to judge them.


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