BUT WHERE WILL UPND MEMBERS GET THE CIVIL SERVICE EXPERIENCE LAURA MITI AND OTHER ARE DEMANDING?
*Laura Miti concerned with new political appointments in the civil service by President Hakainde Hichilema*
Laura Miti says she is disappointed that President Hakainde Hichilema has not ring fenced the Permanent Secretary position from political rewardees.
Commenting on the appointments of Permanent Secretaries, Ms Miti said while some of those appointed by President Hichilema are outstanding, others are concerning.
“I am disappointed that President Hichilema has evidently not ringfenced the PS position from political rewardees who should, in my view, been restricted to ministerial and advisor position,” she said.
She said Permanent Secretaries are controlling officers adding that the individuals ultimately responsible for accountable management of public resources and effective implementation of government plans.
Ms Miti said the PS office should be filled with the greatest attention to qualifications and experience.
“If we are to have an effective civil service, PSes should have extensive civil service experience. They should, as much as possible, be promoted from within the civil service or with people with extensive understanding of government machinery,” she said.
Ms Miti said what President Hichilema has done is a continuation of what has been seen in previous administrations, where the PS position includes political appointees.
ZWD RESPONSE: we respect Madam Miti for her political activism and her previous record of standing up to PF bad governance.
But we find her concerns on the appointment of Permanent Secretaries by president Hichilema completely misplaced.
She says PSs and deputy PSs should be people with extensive experience and possibly should be promoted from within the civil service. In a normal country with a professional civil service this would be welcome.
But the current civil service is not professional. Laura Miti herself had in the past condemned the politicization of the civil service by the PF regime. She condemned the tribalism that PF introduced in the civil service. What we have currently is a tribal civil service.
Former president Rupiah Banda and his three predecessors left a relatively professional civil service. In those days, civil servants were employed based on qualifications and promoted on merit. But during Sata and Lungu’s regimes entry into the civil service was based on tribe. This project was implemented even in the security and defence forces.
During Sata and Lungu’s regimes, people from certain regions of the country were not only denied entry into the civil service and the military but those who were already there were purged. This happened for ten years from 2011 to 2021.
From the way we see it, president Hichilema is trying to correct this wrong. He is trying to give opportunities to every Zambian despite the region they come from. That is why he is trying to make sure that, in all his appointments, he takes into consideration regional balancing.
Now, if people from certain regions were purged from the civil service and their children discriminated from joining the civil service for a decade, from where could they have acquired the extensive experience to be controlling officers in ministries as demanded by Laura Miti? Civil service experience can only be acquired from the civil service and not from the church. Or are we now being told that those who were discriminated by PF should only be employed as junior civil servants because they have no extensive experience? By saying extensive experience, Is Laura Miti not in effect saying President Hichilema should appoint PF officials as permanent Secretaries? Those are the ones with experience. Other people, those linked to UPND were blocked from working in the civil service, for ten years. The alternative is to recycle deadwood from the MMD and UNIP eras. But we are told this is a youthful government that was ushered in by the youth.
May be Laura Miti has forgotten. The war to remove PF started immediately that mad man Sata was sworn in as president. There are people who have been in the trenches fighting PF from 2011. What happened last August was just a culmination of a ten-year-old liberation war. PF was not defeated on a single day; it was eaten piece by piece over a period of ten year. Yes, some people joined in at the last minute and these are the ones seeking the lime light most. They are the most vocal in demanding and getting rewards and benefits. But does anyone remember real fighters like lawyer Keith Mweemba? Probably not. But these are the gallant citizens who put the armour for UPND when it mattered most. When PF was at its peak of power and most dangerous, they said ‘no’. At great risk to their lives and family, they took on the evil regime. Laura Miti is one of those heroes.
We actually expected Laura Miti to support president Hichilema’s efforts to correct the national imbalances wrought by PF. Of course, we don’t support some of the appointments he has made for example those dinosaurs of his he has appointed as District Commissioners. But we refuse to be persuaded that for one to be permanent Secretary, they must have vast experience obtained from a rotten regime like the PF. We are of the opinion that education/skill and integrity should rank above useless experience from a useless administration. In fact we think that experience from a PF administration should be a minus not a plus on any candidate’s curriculum vitae. What kind of experience can one bring from the PF administration apart from corruption, tribalism and violence? You cannot bring about effective change in government by using the same old, tired legs under the guise of experience. Do we need the experience from PF? If we wanted to maintain these experienced civil servants, we would have voted for PF to continue. We are not saying that senior citizens should not be given responsibilities or jobs. There are old people who can bring value to government. But what we reject is the idea that one can only be an effective permanent secretary by having vast experience. It is not true. In fact, people with vast experience are boring and counterproductive as they generally lack innovation and resist change until it’s too late. They do things the way they have always done them even when those ways don’t work. The civil service in Zambian needs change, new blood;