School system,level of education, political relevance and top govt appointments: Thabo Kawana, Antony Bwalya, Cornelius Mweetwa, Situmbeko Musokotwane and Chushi Kasanda

Chris Zumani
Zumani Zimba

School system,level of education, political relevance and top government appointments: Thabo Kawana, Antony Bwalya, Cornelius Mweetwa, Situmbeko Musokotwane and Chushi Kasanda

By Dr Chris Zumani Zimba

Across the World, a school system is designed to rank people in terms of examination grading, titles and certifications. Here, Professors, PhD, MA, BA, diploma and certificates matter more than anything. When we say he or she is most qualified or schooled, we mean the above titles.

When we talk about education, we mean the impact and manifestation of the school system. Education reveals how much you have learned and your conduct must trigger the following three factors among others:

1. Genius thinking: An educated person must manifest intelligence in how they reason and interpret things around you. This is crucial measure of education; bringing innovative ideas and extraordinary solutions to life;

2. Being humble and open minded: Education transforms one from being a rigid and arrogant fool to start respecting new knowledge, divergent solutions and other views. Respect for other people’s opinions is maximized. If this is lacking, your school titles and certifications warrant to nothing;

3. Manifestation of expert wisdom: Most educated people respect their line of work and limit their debate within their field. A professor of aviation will refuse to run a lecture on political systems or criminal law. Why? They only want to speak and manifest wisdom in their specialized field-aviation.

In opposition, President HH promised to appoint people on the merit of both a school system as well as education status outside tribe, regional, gender or political classifications. But under his New Dawn Administration, we have seen too many political appointments, reshuffles and terminations at top government level that lack what he promised. The resignation of ZCCM Board Chairperson is news of the month and confirms that the most educated people around him are being strangled they deem as political cadres or too less educated with wrong ideas.

We also hear rumors of Bank of Zambia Governor threatening to resign. Generally, many educated people don’t have problems to resign jobs or disassociate themselves from wrong decisions and behaviors especially if championed by people they deem non experts in the field. President HH must realize this fact; highly educated people will always eject certain approaches and must be professionally managed accordingly. The worst is to appoint someone very educated and respected in their field and you allow political operatives or cadres to harass them like political toys.

Going by what we hear, this New Dawn Government of HH is slowly suffering from the old disease of state capture by political cadres; they will lose credible people who mean well. In any government, there is a place for most educated people as well as political members or cadres as operatives regardless of their education level. The elephant in the room is poor or bad placement of personnel; our HH is mixing both expert driven appointments with political appeasement placement in key positions.

1. Dr. Situmbeko Musokotwane: Despite running a sick economy, it is very difficult for many stakeholders to rate this finance minister poor or a failure because he brings both school credentials of titles and papers as well as professional expertise to this government. He has the right education in the right sector with full political experience and relevance. He is among the most well placed ministers in this government. Even whenever he speaks, he is both understood and admired by many people;

2. Cornelius Mweetwa: He is wrongly placed to run a province as he is a bigger political value for HH. He is a seasoned politician, brings vast knowledge of both education and proper face of a defined school system. He could be better placed as a full cabinet minister and maybe even elevated as Chief government spokesperson. Here, HH must not worry about tribalism; it’s placing right people in right positions because Mweetwa is solid in all aspects and criterion at that level;

3. Thabo Kawana: Highly misplaced. He is stronger on political issues and may not present anything tangible in terms of education and school credentials. Why cage him as director in the ministry? This position is for civil servants with proper education, qualifications and experience.

Thabo Kawana needed to help the ruling party with higher media visibility and not the government. He is a political being or beast and needs a political job, not civil service. You can’t have a director in government chasing opposition leaders in different media houses and imposing himself as their competition debator. When UPND leaves power, my colleague Thabo may find himself in too many unnecessary bitter political battles. Civil servants are orderly personnel, respect hierarchy and are well regulated professionals.

Thabo needs some political meat to chew and not this administrative anarchy and chaos we see. Where is the respect for civil service code of ethics? Why should a director be more visible, known and important than the PS or cabinet minister? This is the same problem Antony Bwalya created for himself or was trapped in; to think one can solely stand up and defend the entire government as a civil servant. It’s no!

4. Antony Bwalya: In this good man, able bodied and very articulate, he was made to be running live radio and TV programs weekly as Chief Presidential Spokesperson. Either chaos or trap😂 Where and How on earth should a presidential advisor be speaking each week on radio or TV as if he was employed as a chief propaganda agent? Before it was too late, our good Antony was messed up and entangled himself everywhere. He was kicked out.

Instead of placing him at party level to help them run their media, they demoted him into diplomatic service as deputy high commissioner, at the level of deputy director. Thabo Kawana must learn from Antony and must lobby his appointees to place him where he belongs before it is too late.

5. Chushi Kasanda: There is no doubt that this minister has let down everyone including herself. She could be a good person but just wrongly placed. She is the reason why Antony Bwalya found himself doing all the wrong things. On behalf of the President and this minister, Antony Bwalya became ‘chief government spokesman’ because the person assigned to do the job was technically impotent. Eventually, Antony entangled himself and was strangled out of state house. Hamasaka is clever; he has remained a ‘covert media and press adviser’ to HH as per civil service standards.

Madam Kasanda is the reason why Thaba Kawana is placed in that ministry as a back up voice to redeem this minister who is chief government spokesperson. And she will be the reason why Thabo Kawana will be hated, insulted and later ejected if the worst goes to Community House. With the political energy of Thabo, being a director is underachievement and chaotic. But HH needs to reshuffle or retire his Chief government spokesperson soon before Thabo is entangled like Antony in trying to defend her or the government.


Going by his campaign promise of proper placement of top government officials on the merit of both education, school system and political relevance, HH has not redeemed himself nor fulfilled them. His government is a team where number 9 is placed as 4, number 7 is playing 1, the goal keeper is placed as 6 and number 11 is placed as 8. The coach has messed up the entire team and hence they are only scoring loses and draws so far.

The quality and type of top government positions is a reflection of the president’s thinking and approach. So far, not so good. The president must always remember that certain government jobs are only open to citizens who have proper schooling system and education credentials while some appointments may warrant the inclusion of those who merely bring political relevance and justification. This is both crucial and important when it comes to placement in government.

Dr Chris ZUMANI Zimba is a Political Scientist, Researcher, Lecturer & Consultant specialized in Comparative Global Governance and Democratic Theories. He holds a PhD, MA, BA and Cert in Political Science. Zimba was President Lungu’s Political Advisor from December 2019 to August 2021.


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