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Looking back: Lt Gen Christon Tembo – Career Solider turned Politician

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Lt Gen Christon Tembo

Lt Gen Christon Tembo

He had a scary face that resembled Arnold Schwarzenegger, he was everything from a dad to a career soldier, to a devoted husband, famer and churchman, writes Mwaba Mutale for Zambian Eye.

He was the General…… 3 stars General, career soldier a father and notable Diplomat and career politician:

His name was Lt Gen Christon Tembo, one of the finest officer to ever be produced in this Nation.

Born in 1944 in Kasempa, North-Western Province, he belongs to the Tumbuka people in Eastern Province, although his nationality was challenged by some, including former Vice-President Enock Kavindele who claims he is a Malawian and sparked some serious misunderstanding between the two midalas (old men).

Before joining the MMD in 1991 and becoming a Lusaka MP, General Tembo was a career soldier. He attended military college in Camberley, UK, and rose through the ranks to become in 1984 a highly respected and no nonsense army commander.

Gen Tembo, married Nangamba Nellie Nachombe with whom he has two children. However there is a shocking story on his children….His only Daughter Suzyo Maleketa Tembo died on a Friday and was put to rest on a Monday. however when returining from the burial, Tembo’s only son Muyangana collapsed and died.

Tembo was popular with the soldiers, raising their morale by improving supplies and logistics. But his army commander days were cut short by Zambia’s first president Kenneth Kaunda, who first posted him to Germany as ambassador and then detained him on suspicion of being involved in an attempt to overthrow the government.

Its true there are no permanent friends and enemies…Tembo was arrested in 1988 with BY Mwila and others on suspecion of plotting a coup..it is said when starting to plan the coup, the first guy he approached went and snitched on him…Tembo lost friends and popularity over night and just a few wanted to be associated with him for fear of KK… He was defended in the famous 1989 treason trial by Levy Mwanawasa, who was later an arch enemy and rival in the closely contested race for the presidency.

He joined politics in 1990 with the MMD and became an MP in Lusaka. He was foreign minister from 1995 to 1996 and then vice-president from 1997 to 2001. He ran for president in the December 2001 election and took third place, with about 13% of the vote with the then famous FDD or “Fididi” as they were called.

His Colleagues in the FDD, including party spokesperson Fisho Mwale, describe him as a benevolent, incorruptible teetotaller and a strong disciplinarian, who will instil honesty into public life. Though others who knew him personally said he lacked charisma and charm needed of a public figure and was a poor public speaker and spoke like a ‘Buju’

He died on March 6, 2009 in Lusaka after kidney failure.

He served his Nation, he left his mark and legacy, what will you be known for muntu wandi?

Pishamo Pen and leave a legacy

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Start: 2019-07-01 End: 2019-07-31