Esther Lungu

Esther Nyawa Lungu (born 2 June 1961) is a Zambian public figure and politician who has held the position of the First Lady of Zambia since January 25, 2015.[1] She is the wife of Zambian President Edgar Lungu.

Esther Lungu
Esther Nyawa Lungu.jpg
First Lady of Zambia
Assumed office
January 25, 2015
PresidentEdgar Lungu
Preceded byCharlotte Scott
Personal details
Born (1961-06-02) 2 June 1961 (age 59)
Political partyPatriotic Front
Spouse(s)Edgar Lungu

Esther Lungu was born to parents, Agnes and Island Phiri, who were originally from the country's Eastern Province. Lungu was raised Catholic, but she and her husband are now practicing Baptists.[2] She has been married to Edgar Lungu, with whom she has six children, for more than thirty years.[2]

In 2015, she traveled to the United States for a series of First Ladies' and women's summits and meetings at the George W. Bush Institute in Dallas, Texas, and the United Nations in New York City.[1] Lungu was a panelist at Invest in Women in Dallas, which was moderated by Cherie Blair.[1]

Lungu has campaigned against child marriage during her tenure as First Lady.[3] She is the Chairman and mentor of Esther Lungu Foundation formed in December 2015 with the purpose of empowering women and children in Zambia.

Early lifeEdit

Esther Lungu was born on 2 June,[4] to Agnes and Island Phiri, who were originally from the country's Eastern Province. Lungu was raised Catholic, but she and her husband are now practicing Baptists. She said, "When we first met, Edgar had his UCZ hymn books while I had my catholic catechism books, until we eventually found common ground in the Baptist faith."[5]

State visitsEdit

Edgar Lungu became a junior minister in 2011, Minister of Home affairs on 9 July 2012 and Defence minister on 24 December 2013 from the United Party for National Development. Lungu was adopted as the candidate for the Patriotic Front during the January 2015 presidential by-election, following Sata's death. He narrowly defeated the opposition candidate and was sworn-in as the President of Zambia on 25 January 2015 and his wife Esther became the First Lady of Zambia.[6][self-published source]

Being the First Lady, Esther was part of many state visits along with the President. During 2015, she attended a series of meeting in the United States of America and she was invited by the George W. Bush Institute to participate in first lady conference and discuss topics of women's empowerment, health and technology. She was invited by the health minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and by Princess Latifa Bint Abulazis Al Saud to discuss support for women and child welfare programmes in Zambia. As a part of her continual humanitarian work, she launched Esther Lungu Foundation in December 2015.[7]

Social activitiesEdit

First Lady Esther Lungu has launched a Foundation Trust which seeks to reduce vulnerability of the underprivileged persons using gender sensitive, participatory and environmentally sustainable approaches to improve their livelihoods.

The Esther Lungu Foundation Trust (ELFT) will leverage its position to address issues relating to economic empowerment, maternal, child and neo-natal health, and environment especially water and sanitation. ELFT aims to have a healthy, economically and socially empowered community in Zambia to improve the socio-economic well-being of the underprivileged through among other concerns gender sensitive and participatory approaches. [8]

Esther Lungu Foundation Trust (ELFT) with the help of Muslim Social and Welfare Trust (MSWT) installed hand pumps with boreholes in many places in Chongwe District. The district was facing acute water shortage as the reserves in Chongwe River reduced.[9] Her foundation also started identifying vulnerable families for empowering women to eradicate poverty in the country. The foundation also started working along with the ministries of Community Development and General Education to enable children to attend school.[10] As a part of her efforts on improving children's health, she suggested using hand soaps as the practice can reduced one out of every three cases of diarrhea.[11] Esther has continuously voiced her opinion on improving the livelihood of older women in the country. She donated 30,000K to six women association in the country in Chilanga for the upliftment of women.[12] Esther congratulated her husband for choosing a woman as his running mate for President, the first of its kind in the history of Zambia. She considered that a sign of women empowerment in the country.[13] Some sections of the media have criticized her role in social work as a campaign for her husband in upcoming presidential elections, but the accusation has been strongly condemned by the Patriotic Front.[4]

Due to her sensitivity to the plight of the vulnerable in society the Special Olympics conferred on her the title of 50th Anniversary ambassador for the African region, in September 2017, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics “Leadership Academy” hosted by Zambia at the Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC).[14]


  1. ^ a b c "First Lady, Esther Lungu, arrives in USA for High Level meetings". Lusaka Times. 20 September 2015. Retrieved 20 October 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b "Lungu is a kind man". Zambia Daily Mail. 9 August 2016. Retrieved 20 October 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Zambia: Overcoming Early Marriages". Times of Zambia ( 23 September 2015. Retrieved 26 August 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ a b "PF defends First lady Esther Lungu". Lusaka: Lusaka Voice. 6 June 2015. Retrieved 6 June 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Web Editor. "Lungu is a kind man". Retrieved 18 June 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Musambachime, Mwelwa C (2016). One Zambia, One Nation, One Country. Xlibris Corporation. p. 136. ISBN 9781514462287.
  7. ^ Abbink, Jon; Elischer, Sebastian; Mehler, Andreas; Melber, Henning, eds. (13 October 2016). Africa Yearbook Volume 12: Politics, Economy and Society South of the Sahara in 2015. BRILL. ISBN 9789004333239.
  8. ^ 6 MARCH 2016
  9. ^ "More boreholes coming – Esther Lungu". Chongwe: Zambi Daily Mail. 20 October 2016. Retrieved 22 October 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ "Esther Lungu foundation to identify vulnerable families". Lusaka: Zambi Daily Mail. 15 June 2016. Retrieved 22 October 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "Wash your hands with soap". Chongwe: Zambi Daily Mail. 16 October 2016. Retrieved 22 October 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ "Vulnerable women touch First Lady's heart". Chilanga: Zambi Daily Mail. 20 February 2016. Retrieved 22 October 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ "Female choice cheers First Lady". Lusaka: Zambi Daily Mail. 14 February 2016. Retrieved 22 October 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ September 27, 2017