ZAMBIANS do not want to be overwhelmed with explanations about development projects, says University of Zambia developmental studies lecturer Dr Charity Musamba. She said Zambians want to see equal access to economic opportunities, public resources, especially employment, education and justice. President Edgar Lungu was recently quoted in the media complaining that some of his ministers were failing to explain developmental programmes of the Patriotic Front and that their failure was making him unpopular and asked God: “cinjeniko abanandi.”
“The first reaction was – total pity! And the second and serene reaction was – No God, do not change his friends! There are basically two reasons for advocating that God saves his own precious resources from addressing the request made by our President,” she appealed.
“First, how did these non-performing ministers find themselves in these positions? It is the very person complaining who appointed them! Definitely, these ministers’ records of performance or ability to deliver were ‘critically’ scrutinised before any decision was made. This is a lesson that while every leader has the difficult duty to reward his or her supporters with ‘jobs’, it is imperative to ensure that such ‘favours’ are ‘dished out’ with a serious consideration for the ability to work and perform. Indeed, surrounding oneself with non-performers will not only make the President unpopular but will drag this whole country into failure! Otherwise, my message to the President for now can only be; Mutima wanu ulimbe chabe!”
Dr Musamba said the failure or even the unwillingness or the lack of zeal and interest to explain developmental programmes of the PF by some ministers could be interpreted in different ways.
She said the ministers were not able or do not have the capability of communicating the development programmes.
“They lack the skills, expertise or qualifications for such duties! Number two – these ministers may be preoccupied with other ‘critical’ personal concerns and urgent worries than performing the duty of communicating development programmes,” Dr Musamba argued. “Most likely, they could be busy safeguarding their future well-being using all sorts of ways, including using the time and resources that the President is expecting them to be ‘explaining the development projects.’ Number three – on a lighter note – Mr President, it is possible that some of your ministers do not know or cannot see any development programmes to explain to the people. But after all this is said, the most fundamental question is: will communicating the developmental programmes taking place under the PF increase the dwindling popularity of the President?”
She said people want to see a lower and affordable cost of living as well as reduction in poverty.
Dr Musamba said the people wanted to see that corruption in the country was reducing.
“Briefly put, Mr President, give a directive to the ministers to help people see and judge for themselves whether this country is developing or not,” said Dr Musamba.
While meeting traditional leaders in Mwense, Luapula Province on Saturday, President Lungu said he would consider ‘changing his friends’ in Cabinet because they had continued failing to explain to the public the causes and solutions to stalled infrastructure projects.
“If ministers fail to explain to the people why projects have stalled and what we are doing about it, ‘ncinjeni abanandi’,” he said.
President Lungu said failure to timely share information with stakeholders would result in the people voting the ruling party out of government.
He said he would dismiss ministers that failed in their duties before the PF was removed from power.
“I will make sure you go before I go,” said President Lungu.