Newly-appointed Secretary to the Cabinet Dr Simon Miti will not manage to effectively curb corruption in the civil service if there is political interference, says Dr Sketchley Sacika.

In an interview, Dr Sacika commended President Lungu on Miti’s appointment, and observed that Dr Miti’s most important task was to fight rampant corruption in the civil service.

He said Dr Miti would not achieve anything without the Head of State’s support by ensuring that there was no political interference in the execution of his duties and professionalizing the civil service.

“Miti is taking over as Secretary to Cabinet at a time when our public service is on its knees, all is in shambles due to mismanagement, politicization and corruption. We have a public service, which is no longer serving the public interest, but the interests of the people in power. A public service, which is not only inefficient and corrupt, but also counter-productive. Miti’s most important task, therefore, is to stop the rot and start building up a public service, which is purposive and efficient. A public service, which will deliver public goods and services efficiently and effectively. But Miti will need the support of the President. President Lungu must, therefore, give him the space and latitude he needs to bring about the desired change. Without the President’s support, Miti will not be able to achieve anything,” Dr Sacika said.

He observed that Zambia would never succeed with a public service that had no integrity.

“Zambia will never succeed and will continue going backwards if we do not depoliticize our public service and turn our government machinery into meritocracy, where people appointed to government positions will be appointed purely on the basis of merit. Confucius, the Chinese philosopher said, nearly 2,000 years ago that: ‘no one who has no merit by virtue of claiming education and character should be appointed to any position in the public service.’ In China, it is easier to get a job as a professor at a university than it is to be employed as an administrator in public service. But here, in Zambia, our public service has been turned into an institution for dispensing political battles, where people are appointed to positions, which they do not qualify for simply because they are relatives or friends of people in power. As a result, our public service has become dysfunctional. It is not delivering to the expectation of the people,” he observed.

Dr Sacika also called on President Lungu to constitute a Commission of Inquiry to look into the performance of the public service over the years.

“President Lungu’s expectation from the new Secretary to Cabinet to ensure discipline and efficiency in the civil service is a very encouraging gesture. However, the President should allow Simon Miti to operate without political interference. We need to create a conducive environment for creating discipline, efficiency, productivity and morale. My earnest appeal to the President, therefore, is that he should seriously consider establishing a Commission of Inquiry under the Inquiries Act, consisting of experts in public service management to inquire into the operations and structures of the public service with a view to improving the operations of government institutions. Since Independence, we have had four Constitutional Commissions, but we have never undertaken a thorough study of the operations of the public service. Given the state of affairs obtaining in our public service now, it is time that government established such a Commission of Inquiry,” advised Sacika.