It is good that finally President Edgar Lungu has made some substantial changes to his government. This was long overdue in stilling a sense of efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery to the people.
Dora Siliya’s appointment is very much welcome as she comes back to the “libala” [field] she is conversant with unlike at the Ministry of Agriculture where she looked like a Grade one pupil among the grade 12s, totally lost in the game. But the new ministry will make her look like a Grade 12 among the Grade Ones…she is likely to shine as she is articulate except that she will have hard times to defend bluffs from her government of ubomba mwibala alya mwibala…
However, the demotion of Felix Mutati is a bad move and may destabilise the economy further because I doubt the newly reshuffled Minister of Finance, in the name of Hon Margaret Mwanakatwe, is a good replacement to him, other than the gender aspect.
If I were President Lungu, which am not, and for the prudent use of public resources, I would have reserved that ministry to an opposition person in alliance with the ruling party or a totally independent person altogether to occupy to nurture discipline at the treasury.
In as much as i welcome her appointment especially that she becomes the 2nd female finance minister since 1991 after president Edith Nawakwi, Ms mwanakatwe may not be helpful to President Lungu’s administration in deterring those people in this government believing that “Ubomba Mwibala Alya Mwibala” from eating from the libala (fields) in additions to being on salary and allowances.
In addition, observing from her lavish electoral campaigns in Lusaka Central during the 2016 elections as a parliamentary aspirant and after and taking into account her electoral quagmire caused by the longstanding unresolved electoral petition currently in the Constitutional Court, Ms Mwanakatwe may not be firm and ensure the prudent use of public resources as she would want to please the party cadres, faithfuls and other officials to secure her re-adoption should the court rules otherwise.
Not only that, should she lose her seat, it would mean re-appointing another person as Finance Minister who may not be a woman thereby reducing gender pride in that ministry and the nation. So a bit of waiting on the part of the President on Ms mwanakatwe would have been better until after the petition is disposed off.
Therefore, Mutati remains the best option under the circumstances and he seemed to have managed and inculcated financial discipline in that ministry. He conducted himself fairly well with fear, dignity and some levels of openness because he may have feared to be reckless for he could have lost his job instantly being a nominated MP and from the opposition.
For Mulenga Kampamba, the outgoing minister of information and broadcasting and government spokesperson, she was also like Dora at the Ministry of Agriculture, totally lost. She did not know what to do apart from altering her CV that she also minister of information.
Ministry of Higher Education needed changes because Prof Nkandu Luo with her “burke of degrees” has failed to run the ministry. She has assumed the role of vice-chancellor, lecturer and principal of these universities and colleges.
One can’t appreciate Prof Luo’s academic pride in that ministry which has 90% universities closed on flimsy and lame grounds. So something urgent needs to be done at that ministry.
Written by MacDonald Chipenzi
Political Commentator & Electoral Expert