Mande Muyombo is the first graduate of Africa University to be elected bishop. He is assigned to the North Katanga Area and is the youngest Episcopal leader in the Congo Central Conference of The United Methodist Church. At age 44, Muyombo has other notable firsts to his credit.
Born into a large family in a rural setting in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Muyombo was the first of 16 children to graduate college. He earned two degrees (in divinity and peace and governance) at AU and a doctorate at St Paul's School of Theology. Muyombo was the first AU graduate to be named president of a university. Now he's the first alumnus to serve in the role of vice chair of the Africa University (Zimbabwe) Board of Directors. In a recent interview, Bishop Muyombo shared his vision, priorities, and hopes for the North Katanga Conference (NKC) and his alma mater.
Q: What positive changes do you want to see in the lives of your members over the next 5 years?
Bishop Muyombo: I want to see an improvement in the well-being of pastors. I cannot accept that pastors make less than $30 per month. They need compensation that will sustain them and their families, including a pension and health insurance. This also applies to lay persons who are working in the church. It must include all servants of the church.
We need to continue to improve health facilities and strengthen the infrastructure that addresses public health challenges and supports the health of the whole community. We are on track with the Global Health unit of Global Ministries, which has helped to establish and support the health boards.
Our evangelism effort is ongoing and we will continue to build churches and establish programs of discipleship to sustain growth.
In all this work, we will rely on our traditional foundation—the local church—as that is the place to begin in terms of ownership. Our focus is on acknowledging, recognizing and strengthening potential and on using the talents of the laity.
Q: Is there a role that AU can play in helping you to address the strategic priorities of the North Katanga Conference?
Bishop Muyombo: As a product of AU, I see the university building up leadership and the human resources needed to boost and sustain the initiatives of the denomination in my conference and across Africa. AU will continue to provide leaders, pastors, and laypersons for critical areas of work.
Q:What positive changes do you want to see in the lives of your members over the next 5 years?
Bishop Muyombo: I want to see an improvement in the well-being of pastors. Pastors need compensation that will sustain them and their families, including a pension and health insurance. This also applies to lay persons working in the church.
We need AU graduates to strengthen our administrative functions and improve accountability. We want to explore how AU can continue to nurture our local universities and seminaries by providing high-quality academic and administrative staff.
Q: How do you hope to contribute as vice chair of the Africa University (Zimbabwe) Board of Directors?
Bishop Muyombo: I see the need for a clear plan of strengthening AU's programs and governance for sustainability. AU must grow in the number and diversity of students. It is critical that the African Central Conferences own this school, contribute to its growth, and claim it as our school that we cherish with a sense of deep responsibility.
Andra M. Stevens, Director, Communications, Africa University Development Office
One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the Africa University Fund transforms Africa by educating and empowering students from across the continent through Africa University, the first fully accredited, United Methodist-related educational institution on the continent. The Africa University Fund supports the general operating expenses of Africa University including faculty and staff salaries and vital infrastructure. Please encourage your leaders and congregations to support the Africa University Fund at 100 percent.