Lackson Kazabu has said it is “evil” to think of bringing back deputy ministers in a country whose economy is on its knees.

And Kazabu says the “cadres” that should be scrapped are the district commissioners whom he said are just draining the Treasury.

On Monday, the National Dialogue Forum (NDF) spokesperson Isaac Mwanza told a media briefing that the forum had recommended the reintroduction of deputy ministers and the election of council chairpersons and mayors by councillors.

But in an interview, Kazabu, the former agriculture and livestock deputy minister, said the idea of bringing back deputy ministers would further sink the economy.

“That is the most retrogressive thinking in a country where the economy is on its knees. It is a very sharp contradiction for those that are in power to start thinking of increasing public expenditure. Any wise leadership when faced with a situation like we have today in Zambia would be looking at every possibility to cut down on costs, and not to increase cost. So I am one of those citizens who don’t want to hear about the return of that position (deputy minister). To come and do what? It is just the thinking of the people in government. Obviously they want to create capacity to give jobs to few more of those that are bootlicking and also to incite those MPs that are there in the opposition who don’t have a spine, because that is the position that was used in the past,” Kazabu said.

He said he was “totally opposed” to the reinstatement of the deputy minister positions.

“I think that it is good enough to have a political head who is a minister and an administrative head who is the permanent secretary, period. So let’s not bring back that evil called deputy ministers. They will just further sink the economy of the country. Look at where we are today! The debt stock is frightening and the government is borrowing so heavily when they know that they won’t even be there to repay some of the debt,” Kazabu said.

Meanwhile, Kazabu who is also former PF Nkana member of parliament, said district commissioner positions should be scrapped as they are another drain to the Treasury.

“And we left out another crop of cadres who should not be there and if I had my way, I would have removed them like yesterday. DCs (District Commissioners) are just cadres for the ruling party. You have seen what they do each time there is an election, they are the ones in the forefront but they are paid by the public…They are there throwing around power to an extent that they would rather council chairpersons and mayors report to them. What nonsense!” Kazabu said.

“And I must commend mayor Kangombe and his colleagues for having exposed what this so-called NDF was trying to do to dilute the powers of the mayor or council chairperson by reverting to the old system of having ceremonial council chairmen and mayors instead of executive ones. The executive mayor is in line with the decentralization policy.”

He also condemned the police’s demand of a permit from opposition UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema when he attended church in Ndola last Sunday.

“I am also a very disturbed citizen to hear that the police now are demanding permits from citizens like HH (Hakainde Hichilema) to go and worship. Instructions are coming from cadres to stop him from flying out of the airport, which is a public facility. What is going on? This country has never dropped to such low levels in the past like it has now and all that is because of bad leadership. This rot should stop,” Kazabu said.

And Kazabu insisted that ministers must pay back for illegally staying in office after the dissolution of parliament in 2016.

“The Zambian people must demand for their money because those people earned the money illegally or unconstitutionally because parliament had been dissolved and they should have gone away,” said Kazabu.