STATE House has ordered the recall of 17 diplomats, most of whom are said to have been sent the time Harry Kalaba was foreign affairs minister.
According to government sources, acting foreign affairs permanent secretary Sylvester Mundanda received instructions on Friday that he recalls the 17 diplomats with immediate effect.
But State House spokesperson Amos Chanda has told The Mast that he knows nothing about the recalls.
Among those recalled are Ambassador to France Humphrey Chibanda and deputy High Commissioner in Kenya Raphael Kauseni.
Several others are staff at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who were seconded into diplomatic mission.
“Right now, I can tell you that Ambassador Chibanda in France and Kauseni Raphael, the deputy high commissioner in Kenya, are among the 17 recalled. After these changes were made here, we were informed that officials at foreign affairs were not happy about it because three quarters that have been recalled are officers at the ministry,” the government source revealed. “What we are wondering about is the number involved. This is too huge a number to have recalled all at once. How come H.E himself has not recalled his son-in-law in Beijing? What about the relatives to the wife in Geneva and South Africa? Everything was done at State House and acting PS just received instructions from there to do the recalls.”
The source revealed that staff at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs felt disappointed with the decision and wondered why the presidency acted irrationally to recall those linked to Kalaba.
“We thought Hon Kalaba just resigned from the position of minister and not joining the opposition. We wonder why H.E is now panicking. Why recall people that you feel are connected to Kalaba or those who were sent by him? This is the mistake we make,” said the government source.
Chanda, when phoned yesterday to get State House’s position on matter only said: “I know nothing about; I don’t know anything about that” while Mundanda’s phone was switched off.
In November last year, President Lungu recalled George Zulu, who was Zambia’s High Commissioner to Australia. Zulu was appointed in June 2015 and his contract was due for review this year.
Another diplomat recalled was Philemona Kachesa, who was deputy High Commissioner to South Africa. Kachesa before then also served in Belgium, and France.