Further debate on ZAWA board

There has been spirited public debate surrounding the appointment of the Minister of Justice as a member of the ZAWA Board (or the Authority as described by Act No. 12 of 1998). To facilitate informed public debate, the composition of the ZAWA Board as prescribed by the 1998 Act (unless since amended) provides for an eighteen (18) member Board appointed by the Minister responsible for Tourism as follows:

  1. A member of the Environmental Council of Zambia (now ZEMA)
  2. A representative of the Wildlife and Environmental Conservation Society of Zambia
  3. A member of the Zambia National Tourist Board (now described as the Zambia Tourism Board or ZTB)
  4. A representative of the Ministry responsible for Fisheries
  5. The Inspector-General of Police
  6. The Commissioner of Lands
  7. A member with wide business and commercial experience in the private sector
  8. A representative of the Tourism Council of Zambia
  9. A representative of the Ministry responsible for Finance
  10. Two representatives of Community Resources Boards
  11.  Two patrons of Community Resources Boards (i.e. Chiefs)
  12. A representative of the National heritage Conservation Commission
  13. A representative of the Ministry responsible for Tourism
  14. A representative of the Ministry responsible for Legal Affairs
  15. Two other persons

Since ZAWA was established, the Ministry of Justice has been represented by a Permanent Secretary (or in one previous case a Director level operative). In this regard, public officials appointed to the ZAWA Board have always been civil servants.  The inclusion of a Cabinet Minister on the ZAWA Board or management of any statutory authority is therefore unprecedented.   A Cabinet Minister addresses national policy issues and, should ordinarily not be directly associated with its implementation.  What would happen if the Minister of Justice was to act as Minister of Tourism, which cap would they wear during the ZAWA Board meeting? More importantly, basic tenets of corporate governance stress the need for separation of oversight roles and promotion of highest levels of transparency and accountability. For such standards to be upheld, it would require that members of the ruling political executive keep a clear distance from directly or indirectly being involved in the management of statutory authorities.

Cosmas Makanta

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