‘Ministerial structural changes coming’

PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has proposed structural changes to his Government that would see deputy ministers integrated into Cabinet so that there is more cohesion and coordination between ministers and their deputies.

The President said he would soon be proposing to Parliament to consider what standing orders could be amended to allow deputy ministers act as Cabinet ministers should the substantive office bearer.

He said his Government was working on modalities for deputy ministers to perform the function of Cabinet ministers and advised that there was need for deputy ministers to closely interact with Cabinet ministers so that there was coordination between the two offices. President Lungu said this at State House yesterday when he swore in Professor Nkandu Luo as Gender Minister and 29 deputy ministers.

The Head of State said it should be policy that Cabinet ministers worked closely with their deputies adding that if there was no country in the world that had allowed deputy ministers to act as Cabinet ministers, then Zambia would be happy to be the first.

“What I have seen is that there is no coordination between Cabinet ministers and their deputies. It must be policy that Cabinet ministers must work hand-in-hand with their deputies. I have seen deputy ministers struggling to give accurate answers to question on the floor of Parliament because there is no coordination between the office of a Cabinet minister and his deputy. We are working at modalities for deputy ministers to act as Cabinet ministers. I will see how best we can integrate deputy ministers into Cabinet and I am taking advantage of the current Parliamentary reforms to see what standing orders can be amended to allow deputy ministers to act as Cabinet ministers. You cannot just be a deputy minister in name,” President Lungu said.

President Lungu said he was being accused of all sorts of things but that he had no time to respond because he was dedicated to deliver the best and to the expectation of Zambians. He said to be a President or a minister was a thankless job and that his ministers should not expect Zambians to thank them but that they should work hard to ensure that what was promised was honoured. The Head of State described the process of reorganizing his government as the most agonizing period as he had to make bold decisions in selecting the best team to work with in the management of the country.

“It was not easy for me but I think I have the best and those of you who have been appointed deserve to be where you are. I know there are those of you who thought you deserved to be cabinet ministers and there is nothing wrong with that thinking. But your time will come and pray to God. I did not think I would be President. Maybe some of you were praying to be appointed and may be some of you were seeing medicine men in Chawama and as to whether that worked for you, it is not for me to say,” President Lungu said.

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