Christon Tembo

From Chalo Chatu, Zambia online encyclopedia

Lt. Gen. Christon Tembo (1944 – 6 March 2009) was a vice-president and army commander in Zambia.[1]. He had a scary face and was everything from a dad to a career soldier (a three stars General), notable Diplomat, career politician, farmer and churchman.

Early life

Born in 1944 in Kasempa, North-Western Province, he belongs to the Tumbuka people in Eastern Province, although his nationality was challenged by some who claimed he was a Malawian.


He attended military college in Camberley, UK, and rose through the ranks to become, in 1984, a highly respected and no nonsense army commander.


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.

Gen. Tembo was arrested in 1988 with BY Mwila and others on suspicion of plotting a is said when starting to plan the coup, the first guy he approached went and snitched on him. Gen. Tembo lost friends and popularity over night and just a few wanted to be associated with him for fear of Kenneth Kaunda. 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.

Political career

He retired from military service in 1990 and joined the Movement for Multiparty Democracy as vice-president of the party under Frederick Chiluba, who became president in 1991. He was foreign minister from 1995 to 1996 and then vice-president from 1997 to 2001. He fell out with Chiluba over Chiluba's attempt to gain a third term in office in 2001, and then formed the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) as a breakaway party. He ran for president in the December 2001 election and took third place, with about 13% of the vote. He died on March 6, 2009 in Lusaka after kidney failure. [2]

Personal life

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.



  1. "Tembo: Waiting in the wings", BBC News, December 17, 2001.
  2. Elections in Zambia, African Elections Database.
  3. Christon Tembo is Dead, Zambia Daily Mail, March 8, 2009.
Political offices
Preceded by
Godfrey Miyanda
Vice President of Zambia
Succeeded by
Enoch Kavindele