Lusaka Provincial Minister Bowman Lusambo says he operates like the President in the province.
And Lusambo says he will soon submit a report to President Edgar Lungu from some Luangwa chiefs on the need for government to allow mining in the area.
Speaking on Hot FM, Thursday, Lusambo bragged that the Lusaka Provincial Administration were the owners of the province.
“Let me put the record straight, first of all I am a Minister of the Province and my responsibility goes beyond government institutions. I want to tell the people of Zambia I operate like the President in the province. Sometimes you can call us small presidents; because the structure which the President has, that is the structure that I have at provincial administration. We are the owners of Lusaka Province, [us as] the Lusaka Provincial Administration. So, we go beyond Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, and Ministry of Tourism. What we are saying is that at Lusaka Provincial Administration, I have all the representatives from all Ministries; Ministry of Health, Agriculture, Education, all of them there are under me in Lusaka Province,” Lusambo bragged.
“That is the structure which the Provincial Minister for Copperbelt has, that is the structure which Provincial Minister for Western Province has. The only thing we use in Lusaka, we use the word courtesy by informing our colleagues (Cabinet Ministers) that we are going this side and they give us representatives from their Ministry. The word courtesy is what we use in Lusaka Province, putting into consideration that there are so many Ministries sitting in Lusaka. We are housing all these Ministries in Lusaka Province.”
He saluted Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya for consistently informing him about his programmes in the province saying other Cabinet ministers needed to follow suit.
“Here in Lusaka Province, it is somehow dynamic because the Ministers themselves, the portfolio Ministers they sit in this province. Ordinarily, what they are supposed to do, if they want to visit Chongwe, they are supposed to inform me ‘that we are going to Chongwe’ because it is in my province. That is why I have representatives in Chongwe; the District Commissioner. If they are going to Rufunsa, they have to notify me that ‘we are going to Rufunsa are you coming with us?’, and I want to salute Minister of Health Dr Chitalu Chilufya who has been so consistent when it comes to Lusaka Province. He has never conducted any business in Lusaka Province without informing us, and I want to salute him and that is how it should be,” he said.
“It is more like a Minister is moving from Lusaka into Northern Province, they pay a courtesy call to the Provincial Minister of that province and they explain to him that we have come to do ABCD; it is up to the Minister to accompany the Minister who has come or to delegate the permanent secretary to go with the Minister, if the Minister is busy also with other government activities.”
Lusambo said his Ministry drew its authority directly from the Office of the President and not any Ministry.
“My letter head when you receive a letter from me, you won’t see anything like Ministry of what, you will see Office of the President that is the heading of our headed paper. So we draw our powers from the Office of the President. And the setup when you come to my office; I have a Provincial Commissioner of Police, I have Provincial Intelligence Officer and it trickles down to the district. So for those people who have been doubting our responsibility, we are operating under the Constitution. The same structure is the same structure that is sitting in Northern Province, Copperbelt Province, North-Western Province we operate the same,” Lusambo said.
And Lusambo said he would soon present a report from some Luangwa chiefs, who want government to allow mining in the Lower Zambezi, to President Lungu.
“So I went to Lower Zambezi to [do] a routine visit in Lower Zambezi. Lower Zambezi has come to many people’s heads after the issue of the mines. The issue to do with mining it only came up in Luangwa when we went to our familiarization tour. I went to Luangwa and I told the Chiefs that ‘I have not come here to discuss the issue on the mines. There are two Ministers who should engage you in this issue’. I told them Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Mines, ‘for me I have come to see you as my parents to check on government projects and also to interact with the people, the government workers in the district’ which we did,” said Lusambo.
“Yes the chiefs submitted that they needed a mine because they want the people of Luangwa to get jobs, they are concerned actually about job creation. I told them that I have picked what you have said and I will deliver the message both to the President and to the two Ministers. So the chiefs submitted and the report will be going to the President for further advice. We have representatives in the districts and we ensure that we get in touch regularly with people in the districts.”