Mainza Chona was a Zambian politician and diplomat who served as the country’s Vice President and Prime Minister twice. He was a bright child who received a scholarship from the British colonial government to study law in England when he was born in Nampeyo. Soon after completing his studies and returning to Northern Rhodesia, he took a proactive role in political activities under the guidance of Kenneth Kaunda. He became the United National Independence Party’s (UNIP) first President, the party that paved the way for Zambia’s independence. Although he later resigned for Kaunda, he was instrumental in Zambia’s development, as evidenced by the number of government positions he held. He was later appointed Vice President of Zambia and later became the country’s first Prime Minister in Kaunda’s cabinet. He also served as a United States of America, People’s Republic of China, and France Ambassador.
Childhood & Adolescence
Mainza Mathias Chona was born Sikaye Chingula Namukamba on January 21, 1930, in Nampeyo, near Monze, Northern Rhodesia. He was the son of Hameja Chilala and Nhandu, one of his father’s five wives.
He attended Chona out-of-school in Nampeyo and Chikuni. He completed his secondary education in 1951 at Lusaka’s Munali Secondary School and then worked as an interpreter at the Livingstone High Court.
He aspired to be a lawyer and was awarded a scholarship to study at Gray’s Inn, London, in 1995. He was admitted to the bar in 1958 and met other African nationalists while practicing in England, including Harry Nkumbula and Kenneth Kaunda.
Career of Mainza
In 1958, he returned to Northern Rhodesia and discovered that the state had been taken over by the White-dominated Central African Federation (CAF), despite protests from the Black population led by Nkumbula and Kaunda.
Kaunda founded the Zambia African National Congress in October 1958. (ZANC). Due to the party’s militancy and refusal to compromise with white liberals, Kaunda and several other leaders were arrested by CAF authorities in March 1959, and the party was banned.
Chona became the first President of the United National Independence Party (UNIP), the ZANC’s successor party, in October 1959. Chona resigned from his post in January 1960, following Kaunda’s release from prison.
Mainza Chona was appointed deputy president of UNIP by Kaunda, but he was forced to flee Northern Rhodesia in order to avoid being charged with sedition by the CAF authorities, who were growing increasingly frustrated with the political developments. He remained in London for a year, serving as UNIP’s overseas representative.
He also served as a UNIP delegate to the Federal Review Conference in London in December 1960, returning in February 1961. Later that year, he was elected to the position of UNIP’s National Secretary, which he held for eight years.
Kenneth Kaunda formed Northern Rhodesia’s first Black cabinet in January 1964 and appointed Mainza Chona to the UNIP’s pre-independence government as Minister of Justice.
Mainza Chona was appointed Minister of Home Affairs in October 1964, following Zambia’s independence. He held at least five different ministerial positions between 1966 and 1969, including minister without portfolio.
He was appointed ambassador to the United States of America by Zambia in 1969. He was appointed Vice-President of Zambia the following year upon his return to the country.
He made a significant contribution to Zambia’s constitutional development by establishing the renowned Chona Commission. It was established in February 1972 under his chairmanship to make recommendations for the constitution of a ‘one-party participatory democracy.’
The Second Republic was inaugurated in December 1972, and the new constitution was approved by the National Assembly in August 1973.
He served as Prime Minister of Zambia from 1973 to 1975, during Kaunda’s presidential rule. He then served as Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney-General for a time before returning to the position of Prime Minister for the second time between 1977 and 1978.
He was appointed Secretary-General of UNIP in 1978 and served in that capacity until February 1981. Chona returned to private legal practice following his removal from UNIP’s Central Committee. He was deported to Beijing in 1984, where he spent five years in exile.
He was transferred to Paris in 1989 at the conclusion of his term in China, where he served as an ambassador until 1992. Upon his eventual return to Zambia, he resumed his private legal practice.
Significant Works of Mainza
He made significant contributions to the formation of UNIP and to Zambia’s struggle for independence. He was widely regarded as a capable administrator and as Kaunda’s loyal lieutenant in Zambia.
Personal History and Legacies
He married Yolanta Chimbamu Mainza on May 24, 1953, and the couple had seven children together. He died on December 11, 2001, at Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa, while undergoing dialysis, and was later buried in Monze, Zambia.
Estimated Net Worth
Mainza is one of the wealthiest politicians and is ranked among the most popular. Mainza Chona’s net worth is estimated to be between $1-5 million, based on our analysis of Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.