THE MAST EDITORIAL
Why are HH’s appointees disjointed?
Lee Iacocca once said, “I’ve always found that the speed of the boss is the speed of the team.”
If this were the situation under the new dawn leadership of Hakainde Hichilema, this government would have been recording success after success. But there seems to be a tug of war in Hakainde’s government. And he has personally observed that his permanent secretaries and Cabinet ministers are working in isolation.
“I am noticing a trend where permanent secretaries are pulling in one direction and ministers in another direction. There is no way business can work like that. We have to work as a team. That is the way work is done,” said President Hichilema last Friday as he swore-in three permanent secretaries.
Indeed team work is the way to go. But we find Hakainde’s complaint or observation very strange. Maybe this explains the fast rate at which the UPND is losing popularity, which in itself is alarming. Two things come to mind: First, Hakainde’s total refusal to shift to State House. And second, the infighting and sidelining of State House aides. The second aspect actually raises serious issues of Hakainde’s approach to governance. His attitude of a know-it-all person where he thinks that he is the only one who thinks best out of a collective Zambians. Without sounding petty, how is the President going to build teamwork in his government if he can’t unite his team at State House? We’ll pick out two officers – Chellah Tukuta and Anthony Bwalya.
Tukuta was the presidential cameraman who was shunted at State House while the figure he’s supposed to capture was all over. His job was taken over by press analyst Brian Mwiinga. Isn’t this the reason the young man has opted to be sent to Brazil to do what everyone in our land doesn’t understand? Fast forward, the President is now in New York attending the UN General Assembly but his right-handman Anthony Bwalya is in Lusaka! State House media director Clayson Hamasaka was also left out. So who is standing in as presidential spokesperson? So what is Anthony’s job description? We all know that the presidential spokesperson is a very senior position in government and he draws a huge salary. That being the case Anthony must work for it and not be parked at State House. He’s not a librarian.
We have noted over time that, maybe out of initiative – to remain relevant – Anthony has been all over radio stations while the President is either out of the country or visiting provinces. But we all know that whatever he says on radio, it’s the President who is speaking. Now, has he got the authority to speak for the President on various issues when the same President doesn’t seem to trust him enough as to travel with him? Those who know Hakainde will tell you that he keeps those he doesn’t trust at a distance – ku wire.
Much as he will not fire them, he lets them get frustrated on their own. But why is he keeping Anthony if he can’t trust him? Is it just for tribal balancing’s sake? Also why is he using two bodyguards? Why isn’t he confirming Patrick Kangwa as Secretary to Cabinet? Is it because he is comfortable with Oliver Kalabo? This is a strange situation for a President who is demanding team work. But for once let him put together a team he trusts and can work with instead of filling positions for the sake of it. Even in their crookedness, the PF had a vehicle running on full cylinders. All cogs were on. The methodical UPND is proving to be disjointed. They have continued with the same disorganisation they had in opposition.
No wonder even their cadres are complaining all the time about being abandoned. You can’t run a government like your personal shop or farm. This is a serious recipe for failure.