Zambian Elected AMEC Bishop

A ZAMBIAN, Paul Kawimbe, has been elected one of eight bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC), becoming the first Zambian to hold such a senior position.

The elections took place in Indianapolis, Indiana in the United States during the quadrennial conference from June 30 and expected to be closed today.

The AMEC quadrennial conference which is the highest organ of the Church is held every four years to enact Church laws, elect bishops and assign bishops.

AMEC public relations director, Michael Gondwe said in Lusaka yesterday Rev Kawimbe who becomes the 121st elected AMEC bishop was first among 40 others competing for the eight positions and was confirmed yesterday.

Rev Kawimbe polled over 1,000 votes to become the first winner in the polls which Zimbabweans Noah Nyamaropa and Jordan Mukwanazi contested but lost after failing to marshal the minimum 775 votes required to become bishop.

"This is historic because the Church in Zambia has gone through turbulent storms in the recent past due to lack of a local bishop," Rev Gondwe said.

"The Church of God's focus now is to rebuild the broken walls which made the Church lag behind," he added.

He said AMEC members in Zambia were very happy because Rev Kawimbe was not only the first Zambian to be confirmed bishop but also the first in the 17th Episcopal district, which comprises other countries in the region.

"We are elated and this gives hope to the membership in Zambia who have for a long time struggled to have a local bishop. I call upon all members to rejoice at the election," Rev Gondwe said.

He appealed to AMEC members to be on standby to welcome Bishop Kawimbe, who may be assigned elsewhere by the conference, back to Zambia on a date to be announced later.