RB’s numerous, meaningless cabinet reshuffles

President Banda. It's not too late for him to start listening to people

President Banda. It's not too late for him to start listening to people

Rupiah Banda president of Zambia has once again messed and missed an opportunity to impress the Zambian masses over his cabinet which is seen by many as non-functioning and alienated to citizens and reality.

Banda yesterday made numerous but insignificant changes to his deputy ministers and permanent secretaries.

The notable change he made was to elevate deputy defence Minister Eustarkio Kazonga to full minister of Local Government and Housing.

And yes, he has brought in our friend Teddy Mulonga as new Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Sport, Youth and Child Development.

One can be excused for thinking that the president made the meaningless changes just to divert attention from the Solwezi defeat, call for the MMD convention, fuel blues, illness in Mongu, busy flights etc…

Surely the president could have done better. The opposition and civil society have been advising the president to cut his cabinet to reduce on bills. The president elected to leave his cabinet intact and instead brought in another member.

The president should have, for example retired those ministers who are sick on health grounds. He should also have retired the incompetent ones in national and public interest.

In short, the president should have made a complete overhaul by cutting the size of cabinet and doing away completely with deputy ministers.

People who are responsible for fuel shortages should have been kicked out this time around.

And why didn’t president Banda call a press conference to announce these numerous changes so that journalists can ask questions, like other presidents used to do? Maybe he didn’t want some ‘rude’ journalist to seek a clarification on the MMD convention or the workshop along Kafue road.

Why can’t president Banda for a change do something different like appointing younger men and women to his cabinet to replace the antiquated parasites?

More than 80 per cent of Zambians are below the age of 40, so why should they continue being governed by stale old fools?

Instead of increasing the number of Unipists and Ngonis in his empire, president Banda should have decided to do away with deputy ministers.

Deputy Ministers serve no national interest in Zambia. They are just a huge unnecessary drain to the national treasury.

Their salaries are low of course, but their daily allowances are foolishly high such that they don’t even need their salaries. How many expense cars does each of these people drive? And why do we have two deputy ministers in one ministry when some ministries like that of Information and broadcasting are not necessary?

Deputy Ministers don’t even sit in cabinet. So they don’t know what key decisions are made. When the full minister is out, another full minister from another ministry acts in that capacity. So what really is the purpose of these chaps?

Here is one example: “Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Deputy Minister Elijah Muchima has been moved to Local Government and Housing, while Ministry of Sports, Youth and Child Development Deputy Minister Angela Cifire has moved to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services.”

So what? What new skills or ideas does Muchima take to his new ministry which he didn’t implement where he is coming from? Or Angela Cifire, will she influence the ministry to implement the ZNBC act which we are all waiting for?

“President Banda has transferred Hastings Imasiku from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Vocational Training to the Ministry of Energy and Water Development with a call to help stabilise the flow of fuel in the country, which was erratic in the last few weeks.”

Jesus Christ! Does Imasiku have private oil wells where he is going to tap this commodity from? If Banda trusts this man so much and thinks he is the miracle guy who will end the fuel blues in Zambia, why didn’t he just fire Ken Konga who has failed us on that score and make Imasiku full minister? We definitely need stability in the energy sector.

“President Banda has also moved Community Development and Social Services Deputy Minister Moses Muteteka to the Ministry of Local Government and Housing in the same capacity.” That is fine but what did he achieve during his stint there? How many people benefited from the social scheme under him?

“Deputy Minister of Sport, Youth and Child Development Christopher Kalila has been moved to the Ministry of Works and Supply in the same capacity, while Deputy Minister at Local Government and Housing Lwipa Puma, has been moved to the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry.”

I have never heard of Christopher Kalila, maybe he doesn’t cry loud enough but the story is the same; moving deputy misters from one ministry to another does not serve an national purpose. It

“The president has transferred Chrispin Musosha, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Vocational Training, while Deputy Minister of Works and Supply Mundia Ndalamei has been moved to Sport, Youth and Child Development in the same capacity.”

All in all, these changes make no impact but are just a cost to the national coffers.

When such unnecessary changes are made, the affected ministries have to spend unbudgeted for money in printing new stationery for the new deputy ministers. Letterheads, business cards and in some cases even office furniture have to be changed. The cost is enormous if one considers the bulk and quality of material the government uses.

Zambians are expected to receive these changes as business for their rulers as usual. It makes no difference to the unemployed youth; the street vendor who has no stall to sell his merchandise. The poor women struggling to raise their children by selling rotten tomatoes in the market do not benefit to such changes in any way.

It’s just politicians returning favours to each other. Yes, one who is privileged disturbing favours to his buddies…

Meanwhile, the poor Zambians continue yawning for development.

The Author, Lloyd Himaambo, is the Editor of the Zambian Watchdog

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