Everyday I’m shuffling: Sata moves Mwamba again

Cabinet Office Permanent Secretary, Emmanuel Mwamba. Photo source: Zambian Watchdog
Cabinet Office Permanent Secretary, Emmanuel Mwamba. Photo source: Zambian Watchdog

Imagine doing one high-level government job for an average of 4.8 months in a 2 year space? That’s five different jobs in that period! Well, pity Emmanuel Mwamba who has had to face this. President Sata has moved the now former Ministry of Information Permanent Secretary to Cabinet Office in the same capacity, not long after he started at the former. The President demonstrates how NOT to bring out the best in your staff: just as they are getting to grips with a new departmental role, sack them or move them to a different department for vague or unexplained reasons. Such moves have been proved to keep them on their toes and on your side. You are the boss after all and their lives are in your hands. Remind them of that at every 4.8 months on average!

A Lusaka Times reader has helpfully listed Mwamba’s recent jobs since President Sata’s government came to office in 2011. Note how they’re all very recent, all five of them:

2 Nov. 2011 – Northern Province PS – 13 months

30 Nov. 2012 – Eastern Province PS – 7 weeks

24 Jan. 2013 – Western Province PS – 7 months 3 weeks

13 Sep. 2013 – Ministry of Information PS – 6 weeks

28 Oct. 2013 – Cabinet Office PS – unknown.

Government reshuffles rarely exist for good policy-oriented reasons. Put simply, they are the moving around of people liked or disliked by someone powerful (and his/her inner circle) for reasons best know to their clique. It’s bad politics. You would assume that a President would want an effective Permanent Secretary communicating and delivering government policy to the people. It seems not. Bad politics often has the final say.

Such moves come at tremendous financial cost to the country, the precise amount nicely kept away from us adding to the huge governmental waste we seem to have become accustomed to. But there’s also the cost of pulling back the nation’s development process by failing to give staff enough time to understand the particular issues addressed by their ministries. Will anyone tell the President that his methods don’t make sense and demand that he listens? No, because he’s all-knowing. Wisdom belongs to him alone. At least he can now keep a more watchful eye on the ambitious Mwamba. I’m sure we’re all relieved. That is what will provide nutritious food, and education, and healthcare to every Zambian household today. Let’s get real. Note: Emmanuel Mwamba was sacked from his role as Cabinet Office PS after 1 day.

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