SOME of the resolutions from the National Dialogue Forum are wrongly timed, might backfire and put the PF and President Edgar Lungu in direct firing range of public ridicule, says Maxwell Chongu. Chongu, who calls himself a ‘PF die-hard’, said he expected the NDF to come up with impeachment clauses on councillors, mayors and members of parliament for failing to deliver as well as removing the grade twelve-certificate clause.
“Inasmuch as I may agree with certain resolutions coming from the NDF, I must confess that some of them are wrongly timed, if left unchecked might backfire, putting the name of the party PF and President Edgar Chagwa Lungu in direct firing range of public ridicule. I expected the NDF to come up with impeachment clauses on councillors, mayors and MPs for failing to deliver, removing the grade twelve certificate clause as wisdom and leadership is God-given, not necessarily from school, college or university and to compress [some] ministries,” Chongu said.
The former Big Brother contestant further noted that the re-introduction of deputy ministers had been received with negativity and hostility by the general public. He said there must be deep reflection on the matter. Chongu wondered where the money to pay deputy ministers would come from.
He also asked how parents of Copperbelt University students and those who had their meal allowances scrapped think of the government.
“The issue of deputy ministers coming back is a hot issue which has been received with highest and threatening levels of negativity and hostility from the general public hence the need for a deep reflection on this matter. Truthfully speaking, inasmuch as it sounds a good idea to enhance service delivery and increase the party, PF’s presence on several developmental projects that seem to be given less publicity, this suggestion has surely come at a wrong time all together considering several economic challenges currently at play in our nation today,” he said.
“If the need for deputy ministers is that urgent then let’s identify key ministries which are extremely busy and need the services of deputy ministers for now where we can fuse in temporary deputy ministers as we await for the economy to stabilize. I’m sure by 2021 that’s when other deputy ministers can take up office, unlike unnecessarily bloating the wage bill and cabinet with the fusing in of deputy ministers in all ministries. Those insisting on having deputy ministers now please give me honest answers to the following questions…how are parents to CBU students going to look at the PF government? How are students who had their meal allowances scrapped off going to look at the PF government? How will local contractors and suppliers who have not been paid going to look at the PF government? How will civil servants whose salaries have been delayed going to look at the PF government? How will the huge number of unemployed youths going to look at the PF government? How are the farmers who were affected by late delivery of farming inputs going to look at the PF government? How will relatives that lost their beloved ones due to shortage of medicines in hospitals going to look at the PF government? How will street vendors who have lost their merchandise and capital at the hands of the local authorities going to look at the government?” Chongu asked.
And Chongu advised that ministries be merged to reduce costs. He proposed that chiefs and traditional affairs ministry should fall under the local government ministry while religious affairs be merged with community development. He suggested that presidential affairs could be under State House while livestock and fisheries and Ministry of Agriculture could be merged. Chongu further suggested that the Ministry of National Planning should be placed under Ministry of Finance while Housing and Infrastructure and Ministry of Works and Supply be combined.
“Please take note that I’m not refusing to have deputy ministers but all I’m saying is that let’s wait for the economy to stabilise then most probably 2021 we can have deputy ministers,” said Chongu.