Zambia’s president accepts Christ.

By April 27, 2005

Zambia (MNN)–Zambia’s acting president, Levy Mwanawasa faces allegations of electoral corruption.

But, the Southern Baptist International Mission Board’s Larry Pumpelly says while many African politicians have used religion as a pawn in the government game, Mwanawasa’s public baptism and profession of faith contradicts the charges. “At this point, it seems like this is a real, genuine move. I think allowing himself to be baptized has really made a bold statement to the whole of the Christian community there in Zambia, and I think they’re excited.”

A crowd clapped and cheered as President Mwanawasa rose from the water in an outdoor baptistery behind a Baptist seminary chapel building in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital.

The event drew hundreds of people, including public officials, leaders and pastors from the area and neighboring countries.

Although he was familiar with the Gospel message, his relationship with Christ began to transform when he started attending Twin Palm Baptist Church in Lusaka in 2003.

Mwanawasa is respected for his integrity and for launching an anti-corruption campaign three years ago. The public declaration of his faith could also make him a target.

Pumpelly says, “We can pray for him that he would be able to maintain leadership within the country, drawing all the different factions together, but also, to maintain a role of integrity within who he is as a Christian.”

Last year, 116 Baptist churches were started, bringing the total number of churches to 985, plus 124 mission congregations.

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