I am curious about religion. Jehovah's Witnesses are officially apolitical. But, I am curious about Jehovah's witnesses and whether there are any self-identified Witnesses in governments around the world serving in political office with political positions. Such a Witness would be shunned by Jehovah's witnesses.

  • 2
    They apparently don't even vote, so, seems like a long shot, but it will be interesting if anyone finds any exceptions. – Brian Z Jun 24 '20 at 18:58
  • That is true. I know this is a long shot, but I think it is possible somewhere in the world. – Number File Jun 24 '20 at 19:47

The best example I'm aware of is of former Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, and his wife, Maureen. The couple married in 1988, and both were members of the Watchtower movement. While both were excommunicated due to their political careers, there is evidence to suggest that at least Levy remained active in the church for a period of time between his resignation as Vice President and his election to the presidency.

According to an article1 published in the Journal of Southern African Studies, Levy Mwanawasa was excommunicated in the 90s due to serving as Vice President under President Chiluba from 1991 to 1994. In 1996 he retired from politics after unsuccessfully challenging Chiluba for the MMD (The Movement for Multi-party Democracy) party leadership, but returned in 2001 after being nominated by MMD as the party's candidate for the presidency.

It seems that in the interim, Mwanawasa returned to the faith. According to an article in The Post, after he was selected as the nominee, then secretariat chairperson of opposition party FDD, Edith Nawaki, called for him to renounce his faith or withdraw from the race.

Nawakwi said Mwanawasa was still a dedicated member of the Watchtower which did not believe in earthly governments and wondered how he was going to reconcile the two.

"We are all aware of the Watchtower sect faith, they pay no tribute to the flag, how is Mwanawasa going to stand in the podium and get 21 gun salute, how is he going to look up to the flag?" she asked. Mwanawasa, when asked about his association with the Watchtower last month remained dumb and just waved his hands.

In December 2001, his wife, Maureen, was excommunicated due to her involvement in her husband's campaign, but went on to have a political career of her own; she later contested the 2016 race for Executive Mayor of Lusaka, in which she placed second.

1: Walima T. Kalusa (2017) The Politics of the Corpse: President Levy Mwanawasa’s Death, Funeral and Political Contestation in Post-Colonial Zambia, Journal of Southern African Studies, 43:6, 1137-1155, DOI: 10.1080/03057070.2017.1374766

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .