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Zambian President Congratulates Catholic Bishop-elect on Appointment, Pledges Support

Zambia's President Edgar Lungu(L), and the Bishop-elect of Mpika Diocese, Fr Edwin Mulandu(R)

Zambia’s President Edgar Chagwa Lungu has congratulated Msgr. Edwin Mulandu who was appointed Bishop for the Catholic Diocese of Mpika on April 24, promising to support him in his episcopal ministry.

“It is with great pleasure that I extend heartfelt congratulations on your appointment as Bishop of Mpika by His Holiness Pope Francis,” President Lungu has been quoted as saying in a Wednesday, April 28 press statement issued by his Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations, Isaac Chipampe.

The Zambian Head of State adds, “I, too, am confident that with your strong foundation of not only a rich professional background but also a profound pastoral experience, you will be able to rise to the enormous responsibilities that lie ahead of you.” 

President Lungu further assures the Bishop-elect of his government’s support saying, “As we strive towards a common goal of promoting human dignity and peace in our country, I for my part, will ensure that you receive the necessary cooperation from government functionaries falling under your jurisdiction.”

Fr. Mulandu, 52, is expected to succeed the late Bishop Justin Mulenga who succumbed to a heart-and-kidneys-related illness in March last year. The Diocese that is part of the Ecclesiastical Province of Kasama has been under the leadership of Fr. Justin Matepa as Diocesan Administrator.

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Ordained a Clergy of the Diocese of Ndola in August 2001, the Bishop-elect holds a Baccalaureate from the Theological Institute of Saint Dominic’s Major Seminary in Lusaka, Zambia. He is also a Licentiate Member of the Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants (ZICA). 

In his 20 years of priesthood, the Bishop-elect of Mpika has served as a Parish Priest, Cathedral Administrator and the Diocesan Financial Administrator in the Diocese of Ndola.

His most recent appointment was at the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) where he served as the National Director for Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS). 

In an April 27 interview with the Diocese of Ndola-owned Radio Icengelo, the Bishop-elect said that he was “humbled by this appointment.”

Msgr. Mulandu added, “I am thanking God for his love that he has shown me. I am also thanking you the people of God for your prayerful best wishes and I will really count on your support and prayers.”

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“For the Christians in Mpika Diocese, all I can say is that I am looking forward to working with them as their Shepherd and I am going to Mpika with love and with all the blessings for the people,” said the Bishop-elect. 

Meanwhile, members of the Clergy serving in the Diocese of Mpika have expressed their joy at the news of the appointment of a new Local Ordinary and shared their expectations of the Bishop-elect when he takes possession of the Zambian Diocese. 

In a message sent to ACI Africa on April 26, Fr. Matepa, who has been serving as the Diocesan Administrator, described the Msgr. Mulandu’s appointment “as good news for the Diocese” and urged “the Priests, Religious and laity of Mpika Diocese to welcome the new Bishop with both hands joyfully with prayer and thanksgiving.”

On his part, Fr. Ngosa George said that the people of God in the Diocese “are very happy that we have received a Bishop-elect in one year four days as it is quite rare to get a Bishop that early.”

“We are looking forward to receiving him in the Diocese,” the member of the Clergy of Mpika Diocese said, and added, “We expect from him a Shepherd who is going to take God’s flock in Mpika beginning with the Holy Childhood, the youth, the old, the Priests and the Religious in the Diocese.”

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“He should be a Bishop who embraces everybody regardless of where they belong,” Fr. Ngosa told ACI Africa April 26. 

As the seventh Local Ordinary of the Diocese, the Bishop-elect will be tasked with shepherding 176,000 Catholics, in the 86,135 square-kilometre Diocese that was erected in 1933.