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Prime Minister of Zambia

Prime Minister of the
Republic of Zambia
Coat of arms of Zambia
AppointerPresident of Zambia
Formation25 August 1973
First holderMainza Chona
Final holderMalimba Masheke
Abolished31 August 1991

The prime minister of Zambia was the head of government of Zambia. From 1973 to 1975, Mainza Chona was the first person to hold the position following independence from the United Kingdom (Kenneth Kaunda was the only prime minister of Northern Rhodesia in 1964, before it became independent as Zambia).

The position of the prime minister of Zambia was abolished in 1991, in the last months of Kaunda's presidential term. Since then, the President of Zambia serves as both the head of state and the head of government.


Northern Rhodesia

When the country was founded as the British colony of Northern Rhodesia separate from British South Africa Company rule in the Rhodesias, the elected Legislative Council was created. At the time, the office of prime minister did not exist, with all executive power being vested in the governor of Northern Rhodesia. However, the leader of the largest elected party on the council was considered as the "unofficial" prime minister.[1] When Northern Rhodesia united with Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland to form the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, the office of prime minister of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was created, with Northern Rhodesia's Roy Welensky becoming the second and final holder of the office. Following the breakup of the federation due to the withdrawal of Northern Rhodesia, the office of prime minister was created for the colony. The first and only prime minister of Northern Rhodesia was the United National Independence Party's (UNIP) Kenneth Kaunda after winning the 1964 general election ahead of independence.[2][3]


Upon independence and the renaming of the country as Zambia, Kaunda became the new president of Zambia after being elected unopposed.[4][5] The office of prime minister was abolished accordingly.[6] In 1973, following an amendment to the Constitution of Zambia, the office of prime minister was re-established as the titular head of the government but the holder would be subordinate to the Secretary-General of UNIP in governing Zambia.[7] This was because the Central Committee of UNIP had precedence over the Parliament of Zambia under the Constitution.[8] President Kaunda appointed his former vice-president, Mainza Chona, as prime minister.[9] In 1975, Chona resigned and was replaced by Elijah Mudenda.[10] In 1977, Chona became prime minister again for a year before the role was taken over by Daniel Lisulo.[11] Kebby Musokotwane took the role over from Nalumino Mundia in 1985, becoming the youngest prime minister and also the first that was not a member of UNIP's Central Committee.[8] He was removed in 1989 and given an overseas diplomatic post due to President Kaunda believing he was aiming to become the next president.[12]

In 1991, the office was abolished again following a new constitution being created to allow for multi-party democratic elections following UNIP negotiations with the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD).[12] The powers the prime minister had were subsumed back into the office of president.[13] The constitution allowed for the final prime minister, Malimba Masheke, to remain in office until the 1991 Zambian general election.[13] According to Masheke, at the time of abolition the prime minister was being paid less than his private secretary.[14]

List of officeholders

Political parties

No. Portrait Name
Term of office Political party Head of state
Took office Left office Time in office
Prime Minister of Northern Rhodesia
1 Kenneth Kaunda
22 January 1964 24 October 1964 276 days UNIP Elizabeth II
Prime Ministers of the Republic of Zambia
Post abolished (24 October 1964 – 25 August 1973) Kenneth Kaunda
1 Mainza Chona
25 August 1973 27 May 1975 1 year, 275 days UNIP
2 Elijah Mudenda
27 May 1975 20 July 1977 2 years, 54 days UNIP
(1) Mainza Chona
20 July 1977 15 June 1978 330 days UNIP
3 Daniel Lisulo
15 June 1978 18 February 1981 2 years, 248 days UNIP
4 Nalumino Mundia
18 February 1981 24 April 1985 4 years, 65 days UNIP
5 Kebby Musokotwane
24 April 1985 15 March 1989 3 years, 325 days UNIP
6 Malimba Masheke
(born 1941)
15 March 1989 31 August 1991 2 years, 169 days UNIP
Post abolished (31 August 1991 – present)


Malimba MashekeKebby MusokotwaneNalumino MundiaDaniel LisuloElijah MudendaMainza ChonaKenneth Kaunda

See also


  1. ^ "Settlers press for power". The Observer. 25 January 1953. Retrieved 26 July 2021 – via
  2. ^ "Northern Rhodesia names Prime Minister". The Journal Times. 23 January 1964. Retrieved 26 July 2021 – via
  3. ^ "Northern Rhodesia elevates Nationalist to Prime Minister". Gazette and Daily. 23 January 1964. Retrieved 26 July 2021 – via
  4. ^ "Kenneth David Kaunda". The Ithaca Journal. 6 May 2003. Retrieved 26 July 2021 – via
  5. ^ "Another new African country: This Is Zambia". The Gazette and Daily. 3 November 1964. Retrieved 26 July 2021 – via
  6. ^ Brown, Spencer (1967). The Journal of Developing Areas. Vol. 2. Western Illinois University. p. 483. ASIN B000LL6FJ8.
  7. ^ "10 Ministers join Zambia's "Politburo"". The Guardian. 27 August 1973. Retrieved 26 July 2021 – via
  8. ^ a b "Old Friend From Zambia Is Now the Prime Minister". Los Angeles Times. 17 April 1986.
  9. ^ "News in Brief". Evening Standard. 28 August 1973. Retrieved 26 July 2021 – via
  10. ^ "Palme may call early election". The Guardian. 28 May 1975. Retrieved 26 July 2021 – via
  11. ^ Lentz, Harris (2014). Heads of States and Government since 1945. Routledge. p. 2003. ISBN 9781134264971.
  12. ^ a b Murison, Katherine (2002). Africa South of the Sahara 2003. Psychology Press. p. 1143. ISBN 9781857431315.
  13. ^ a b "Zambia Constitution 1991" (PDF). World Bank. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  14. ^ ""My PS used to get more money than myself when I was Prime Minister" reveals Masheke". The Mast. 11 September 2018. Retrieved 26 July 2021.
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Prime Minister of Zambia
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