PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has vowed to make his appointments non-partisan and it is his expectation that public servants will execute their duties without political bias because Zambia is bigger than the civil service.
President Lungu said in his head-hunting for people to work with him in his administration, he was not looking at partisan consideration but merit and that he had no apology to make for appointing young people to help him govern the country to the best expectations of all Zambians.
Speaking when he swore in Likando Kalaluka as Attorney General and Chalwe Lombe as Foreign Affairs permanent secretary, the Head of State said he had the privilege of head-hunting and scouting for competent Zambians including the young as guided by law and would not therefore apologise to anyone for having appointed those he believed could help him govern the country.
The President said he was not going to restrict his appointments to those currently serving in the civil service because there were many competent Zambians outside the civil service who could diligently perform and serve the country if given the opportunity.
He told Mr Kalaluka on whom he had also conferred the status of State Counsel that his role and mandate was to advise Cabinet and Government on legal matters and that he expected the best from him.
The President said although there were some sectors that had objected to the appointment of Mr Kalaluka, he (Lungu) was convinced that the new Attorney General was equal to the task despite his age.
He said the history of the people that had been holding the office of the Attorney General was that most of them were from the younger generation and advised Mr Kalaluka to pay particular attention to serving the country despite the criticism he was likely to receive from society.
President Lungu said there was nothing wrong with being young and competent and that it would be administratively incorrect to discriminate capable Zambians from rising to the top of their careers on account of age.
“You are aware that there are many young Zambian men and women and there had been some statements that you could not be appointed on account of your age. I must say that I have no apology to those who criticised your appointment because you deserve the appointment. I have the privilege of headhunting as President when the law demands so and I know you are a competent lawyer.
“You were their secretary (Law Association of Zambia) and there is nothing wrong with being young and Zambian and when you get to the top, you will realise there is a lot of noise.
I have been there myself. Those who are old in the civil service should not put spanners so that the young should fail,” President Lungu told Mr Kalaluka.
He said Zambians should learn to work together and should avoid nurturing the spirit of frustrating each other when serving the country for a common good.
The Head of State said he would not hesitate to continue appointing the young and energetic into his Government if he saw ability and advised that the old should always be at hand to help the young.
President Lungu told Mr Lombe, the new permanent secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that there were many Zambians in the diaspora who were yearning to participate in the country’s electoral process but were being disfranchised.
He said Mr Lombe as a seasoned civil servant and having served in various capacities was expected to narrow the gap between Zambians abroad and those in the country so that they could enjoy the same electoral rights.
Mr Lombe has taken over from Mr George Zulu who has been appointed ambassador designate to Australia with immediate effect.
Presidential press aide Amos Chanda told journalists that Zambia was opening a new embassy in Australia and that Mr Zulu had been appointed to go and open the new office as soon as the formalities between the two countries were concluded.