By Nation Reporter
MINISTERIAL positions are not about rewarding cadres or followers and supporters who have sacrificed for the party but about getting the best people who can deliver according to Governments desire and for that I owe no one any apology for my appointments, President Edgar Lungu has said.
Speaking after the swearing-in ceremony at State House yesterday, President Lungu said he was aware that there was discontentment among party faithfuls that he was ignoring senior members of the party and opting for newcomers but clarified that his appointments were not to appease party members who seemingly contributed more than others but was for people who would help him deliver development to the people of Zambia.
“Zambians expect a lot from you and you have been selected out of so many not because you are the best but because you are the best to deliver and let me dispel this notion that I am not looking at the people in the party who have served, campaigned and sacrificed. I am looking for the best and the best can only be ascertained by me unfortunately; through consultation with others and as far as I am concerned you are the best and together, were are the best for now and so, let us do that which is good for all of us.
“I hear that there is clamouring in the party that I am ignoring old faithful people who have served the party for long but ministerial positions are not about rewarding cadres or followers and supporters who have sacrificed. It is about getting the best to deliver that which is expected to be delivered by Government and for that I owe no one any apology,” President Lungu said.
He said he would consider newcomers for appointments ahead of the old members as long as they met the yardstick required to serve in his government.
“If people are joining us at the 11th hour and I consider them fit to serve, I will call upon them to serve. I want to make this clear that there are those of you who think that because you have been in PF since inception you deserve to be ministers; I am afraid you might be ministers in future when time demands that you be ministers.
“I will not just go blindly to pick on people because they have served the party for a long time and for us, who have been appointed, let us consider it a privilege that we are serving and so I expect total loyalty and support so that we deliver. Let no one say I have been in PF for a long time and deserve an appointment because appointments are a prerogative of the President in his own judgement. It is not about appeasing each other.
He also took a swipe at some members who were questioning on which premise the appointment and nomination of Vice-President Inonge Wina was based since Western Province did not give the ruling party votes, saying she was appointed for “keeps” and that he would not even allow her to resign.
He warned that he would not hesitate to fire anyone backstabbing and undermining him, adding that those who wanted to succeed him should wait for the right time because he wanted to leave the party more democratic.
“Some of you are questioning the appointment of the Vice President that we never got any votes from Western Province but let me warn you that she is here for “keeps” and madam, I won’t allow you to resign because I think her contribution is timely and it is helping us. Those of you who gave me the highest votes, I know and I thank you but time for reward is coming, just continue contributing but if you start backstabbing me and undermining me, I will fire you. Simple! Let us do what we are here for.
“At the end of the day, those of you who want to inherit or succeed me time will come. I want to leave the party as democratic as possible. We are going for general conference at an appropriate time where we will elect our leaders in the party but if you are imagining that you want to be the president when there is already a president, no! You will just antagonise us. Let us all work in one accord to deliver to the people of Zambia,” he said.
Those sworn in were Given Lubinda as Minister of Justice, Chishimba Kambwili as Information and Broadcasting Services Minister, Christopher Yaluma as Minister of Mines and Minerals Development, David Mabumba Minister of Energy, Charles Banda as Minister of Tourism and Arts, and Emerine Kabanshi as Minister of Community Development and Social Welfare.
Others were Ronald Chitotela as Minister of Works and Supply, Brian Mushimba as Minister of Communication and Transport, and Christopher Mvunga as deputy secretary to the Cabinet for finance and economic development.
Maj. Gen. Jack Miti and Benson Chali completed the list as deputy Army commander and High commissioner to Tanzania respectively.