SUNDAY PROFILE with CHRISTINE CHISHA, Lusaka
BEFORE she was appointed minister of the new Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs, Reverend Godfrida Sumaili worked for the nation quietly.
As president and founder of Jesus Cares Ministry, a faith-based Inter-denominational organisation, she spent her efforts there. She has been running the organisation for 20 years now.
Jesus Cares Ministry has spread countrywide, providing social services, care and support and empowering the underprivileged, especially children and women.
It has been instrumental in propagating the gospel and this has enabled Reverend Sumaili to work with churches of different denominations throughout the country.
Rev Sumaili has over 10 years of experience in the banking sector at senior management level, having worked for Standard Chartered Bank and Citi Bank.
She has also been exposed to the non-governmental organisation (NGO) as founder of the Jesus Care Ministries, which has accorded her competencies such as technical knowledge and strategic relationship, which are critical to governance at any level from grassroot to national level.
From the activities of her organisation, it can be seen that she is passionate about development in areas such as poverty eradication, reducing inequalities with a view to reaching out to the vulnerable, especially women and children.
Rev Sumaili is confident she has what it takes to handle her new assignment coupled with the fact that the grace of God is sufficient.
â€œIt is by the uncommon grace and providence of God that I was nominated MP and appointed minster. I, therefore, thank the Almighty God for His grace and favour dispensed and bestowed upon my humble life as a servant of God and a servant of the people,â€ she said.
She paid tribute to President Lungu for being obedient to the voice of God and yielding to Godâ€™s instruction to establish the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs.
â€œI thank the members of Parliament for ratifying the establishment of this prophetic and apostolic ministry, which has been birthed in the fullness of the season.
â€œThe views of those who opposed the motion on the establishment of the new ministry are also useful as we lay the foundation together,â€ she said.
Rev Sumaili believes the ideals of the Zambian people cannot be achieved without an appropriate institutional framework to spearhead, support, monitor, evaluate and report on their implementation, and thus, the necessity to establish the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs.
The Patriotic Front Manifesto 2016-2021 recognises and appreciates the pivotal role the Church plays, especially in education, health services, social justice and good governance.
She said her ministry will work in partnership with the Church mother bodies in ensuring that administrative needs such as tax issues and registration are facilitated.
The ministry will also provide oversight to ensure that there is order and sanity in the body of Christ and that people are not exploited by fake greedy prophets.
â€œThere will be need to screen foreign ministers of the Gospel entering Zambia. Corporate good governance such as establishment of governing boards, code of conduct and disciplinary procedures and separation of functions for accountability should be a must for the umbrella bodies,â€ she said.
Rev Sumaili said she will ensure that her ministry actualises and operationalises the declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation, where the Word of God is the standard.
â€œA comprehensive statement on the new Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs concerning the relationship between State and the Church, structures programmes and other pertinent issues will be tabled in Parliament soon,â€ she said.
Rev Sumaili said she is determined to set up a standard in the new ministry based on integrity, hard work and touch the lives of people, to leave a hallmark of excellence.
She said the setting up of the ministry is good news to the Church because a great and effective door for the expansion of the Kingdom of God has opened. â€œIt is a new season, a new day,â€ she said.
Born on May 26, 1957, Rev Sumaili is married to Fanuel Sumaili and together, they have five children and four grandchildren.
Before she joined politics, she served on a number of boards such as the Anti-Corruption Commission, National Savings and Credit Bank of Zambia, Human Rights Commission as chairperson of the childrenâ€™s rights committee to promote and protect childrenâ€™s rights.
In her banking career, Rev Sumaili was senior relationship manager for Standard Chartered Bank, and human resource manager at Citi Bank.
A graduate of Master of Business Administration, Rev Sumaili did her internship at Citizen Trust Bank in Atlanta, United States of America.
After a flourishing career in the banking sector, she sensed a call to go to ministry.
The call into ministry collided with her joining politics, though her stay was short.
She was the first chairperson of Heritage Party, a position she held for two years before she resigned to join full-time ministry.
As minister now, she says: â€œI feel this is a new season for Zambia. I am passionate for this assignment, which I believe God has given me to set up a new ministry. I feel God has given me grace to start up things, and build it up.â€
Rev Sumaili is inspired by President Lunguâ€™s humility, the things he has been able to do in a short period of time such as initiating the building of the House of God.
The clergywoman is also inspired by the life of Mother Theresa, who gave herself to serving humanity and giving dignity to vulnerable people.
She said: â€œMother Theresa inspires me to serve God first and then serve humanity.â€
Rev Sumaili also appreciates her spiritual father Bishop Joe Imakando, who has mentored her spiritually.