The move by president Michael Sata to cancel an induction workshop for permanent secretaries in Livingstone is quite strange, shocking , surprising and extravagant.
What is surprising and shocking to us is the portrayal by President Sata that an entire government at a very senior managerial level of Permanent Secretaries and Secretary to Cabinet can organize and execute such an event without his knowledge!
The Zambian people need an explanation and have the right to know how it is possible for the Acting Secretary to Cabinet Evans Chibiliti to organize such an important workshop without the knowledge of the president and his cabinet.
If this is what is happening, then we are left to wonder what other things are being done by the President’s inner circle without his knowledge. It is either there is gross incompetence or total breakdown of the entire system of governance, which is a security risk.
We are also wondering what cost saving measure was achieved by the president to cancel a workshop that was already in session when participants had already gotten allowances for travel, accommodation and fuel.
As UPND, we would have expected a working president to have prevented and re-organised the whole event at planning stage before hotel and other bills were already incurred without inconveniencing these public officers some of whom come from very far places.
As things happened, we are wondering whether the affected officers will re-pay back the money they got for the cancelled one-week workshop since already used government resources for the same. In any case, if the workshop is yet to be held again in Lusaka or elsewhere it will be an extra cost to the taxpayer.
It is our view that such knee-jerk reactions by the president do not show any commitment to reducing the cost of running government but rather in the long run prove to be extravagance and costly to our taxpayers.
Public reprimanding juniors
As UPND, we are also concerned with the president’s behavior of publicly reprimanding his junior officers when other administrative or more civilized and dignified means would have been used.
This is not the first time the president has humiliated his colleagues in public as was evidenced when he told off the Inspector General of the Police in Kabwe recently.
We view these actions as mere populist stints aimed at gaining personal political mileage at the expense of the integrity of his officers.
This may, in the long-run, demoralize these hard-working, but poorly paid civil servants.
Kachunga Edwin Simusamba
UPND Deputy National Chairman for Finance and Economics