Former Secretary to Cabinet Dr Sketchley Sacika says the recommendation by the just ended National Dialogue Forum (NDF) to reintroduce deputy ministers is an act of betrayal to the people of Zambia.
And Dr Sacika says a coalition government cannot working in Zambia, where too many powers are vested in the Republican President.
In an interview, Dr Sacika said Zambia did not need deputy ministers or more ministers for that matter, arguing that the country could thrive with only 18 enlightened and efficient ministers.
“At various Constitutional review commissions in the past, the people of Zambia have rejected the inclusion of the deputy ministers’ post in government. And as someone who has served government at a very high level, I can say without fear that the post of a deputy minister is unnecessary and it’s just a cost that is unjustified. Our system of government is already too big; we have too many ministers and permanent secretaries who are grossly under employed. Our bureaucracy can be likened to an Army of too many generals commanding too few soldiers,” Dr Sacika said.
“Zambia needs only 18 ministries at most, not what’s being suggested. What Zambia needs is not quantity but quality. We need enlightened ministers who are efficient and highly motivated. And we need a civil service which is adequately resourced. That’s what we need; we don’t need a huge governmental setup, full of Cabinet ministers and deputy ministers.”
Meanwhile, Dr Sacika said a coalition government could only work in a political system where the supreme government powers were vested in the National Assembly.
“The proposed amendment to the Constitution to provide for the formation of a coalition government is unworkable and it is in conflict with the Constitutional set up of our government. It should therefore be rejected. A coalition government espouses that two political parties should share executive powers in government. But this is not possible under our current Presidential system because our Constitution vests all the executive powers of the state in the President. Under our system of government, the Cabinet has no executive authority, it merely advises the President on how to perform his executive functions,” said Dr Sacika.
“A coalition government can work only in a political system where the supreme government powers are vested in Parliament, to which an Executive Cabinet, consisting of members of the coalition government is answerable to the day to day running of government. The concept of sharing power also implies that a government will fall if a member of the coalition withdraws from the coalition. But this is not possible under our Presidential system of governance.”