Those in government need to understand and constantly bear in mind that ours is an economically poor country. To make Zambia prosperous will need many years of intense effort, which will include, among other things, the effort to practice strict economy and combat waste, that is, the policy of building up our country through diligence and frugality.
Diligence and frugality should be practiced in running our foreign missions and other government activities. The principle of diligence and frugality should be observed in everything. We must pay special attention to economy.
As Sketchley Sacika, a former secretary to the cabinet, correctly observed, Zambia needs to reduce the number of its foreign missions in line with its resources.
Why struggle to keep foreign missions we can’t financially afford to keep open? We don’t have enough money to adequately fund our foreign missions. Why not just leave those we can afford and which are important politically and economically?
As a cost-saving measure, we should close down missions in countries that are not so important to Zambia politically and economically.
We have many embassies that don’t make political and economic sense. Other than being employment centres for Edgar Lungu’s relatives, friends and Patriotic Front cadres, many of our foreign missions are not functioning efficiently, effectively and in orderly manner. And they are often staffed with very incompetent and inexperienced people whose only discernible qualifications is being Edgar’s friends and relatives.
For instance, what purpose are our missions in Malaysia, Brazil, South Korea and Turkey serving?
Missions with no economic and political value to the country should be closed.
And as Sacika correctly observes, “It is better for our country to have a smaller number of missions that are well funded and more effective than to have so many missions that are poorly funded. Zambia’s international diplomacy, as a government function, should compete for funds in the same way that the other government functions do. There is a need therefore to establish proper order of the priority of how our government…”
It really doesn’t make sense to spend so much money on “unproductive international diplomacy when our education and health services are poorly funded”.
Our diplomatic relations with other countries can be conducted in ways that are less expensive but quite effective.