By AUSTIN KALUBA –
I CAN imagine how cadres, serving Patriotic Front (PF) leaders and some deserving technocrats are feeling at the piecemeal announcements of some appointments by the newly-sworn-in president Edgar Lungu.
However, one could imagine the caution Mr Lungu is taking before announcing the appointments in view of the large number of people queueing to be appointed.
Evidently, there are no jobs to go round everybody no matter what they did not enable Mr Lungu emerge victorious in the just-ended presidential election that saw Zambia have the sixth president.
The test of PF cadres who won’t be appointed lies in their ability not to complain but to soldier on by continuing working for the party to ensure Mr Lungu’s crusade of developing this nation bears fruition.
Recently, the Zambia Council for Social Development (ZCSD) issued a Press statement announcing that it was keenly observing the exercise of the presidential powers in the appointment of ministers and other
ZCSD executive secretary Lewis Mwape noted that the President had the responsibility to ensure that the appointments were not based on appeasement.
Mr Mwape said the civil service must not be a mirror image of the Patriotic Front by appointing the party structures into Government.
He, however, suggested that the Foreign Service appointees must be credible enough and serve the interests of the Zambian people beyond the oaths of patriotism and secrecy.
Mr Mwape said President Lungu had an opportunity to break the culture of nepotism and tribalism that had somehow killed the spirit of One Zambia One Nation.
He urged President Lungu to take measures of reducing expenditure on the huge Cabinet and spend the resources on other important areas of development and the poverty reduction agenda.
Mr Mwape further stated that ZCSD had great hope that the country would be united again and thus called on all citizens to support the President and the Government, stressing that the time for elections was over and it was now time to work.
Going by the record number of people who endorsed the two political frontrunners – Mr Lungu and the UPND presidential candidate Hakainde Hichilema, we feel that the calls by ZCSD are timely.
The appointment of individuals to top positions in leadership must be based on competence and not on political connections as President Lungu has already shown by the appointment of the Cabinet, the Vice-President Inonge Wina, Chief Justice Ireene Mambilima and Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe.
These appointments are largely devoid of political connections but heavily hinge on competence to deliver.
While we are not against appointments of cadres, we stroungly feel these political zealots must be competent if they are to hold key positions in the party or Government.
The common action many disappointed cadres make when not appointed is defection to another party.
PF members should also understand the mammoth task President Lungu has of pursuing the late President Michael Sata’s policies that were aimed at helping the poor and developing infrastructure in the country.
Mr Lungu, who will only govern the copper-rich country for the remaining 18 months of Mr Sata’s term before the tripartite elections in 2016, has to trim excessive public spending and address Zambia’s Budget deficit pegged at 5.5 per cent of the country’s GDP in 2014.
The deficit has undermined confidence in the Kwacha, which plummeted last year, not to talk of falling copper prices, which is now selling for $5,662 per tonne down from $7,400 last year.
It is probably these challenges that call for competent and focused leaders to help President Lungu steer both the PF and Government boats to the political Canaan that has eluded this country for years.