CHIEF Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya says comments made by South Africa’s Finance Minister Tito Mboweni towards President Edgar Lungu’s decision to fire Bank of Zambia Governor Dr Danny Kalyalya are immature and improper.

But Transparency International Zambia Chapter president Rueben Lifuka says instead of chasing the wind, the Zambian government would do better to address the catastrophic consequences of its decision on the country’s economic challenges.

Immediately after President Lungu fired Dr Kalyalya, Minister Mboweni took to Twitter to condemn the decision, calling it nonsensical and warning that he would mobilise against the Zambian Head of State.

In one of his tweets Mboweni challenged President Lungu to provide reasons why he fired Dr Kalyalya as BoZ Governor, adding that it was wrong for African presidents to simply wake up and make such decision.

“Presidents of Africa must stop this nonsense of waking up in the morning and fire a Central Bank Governor. You cannot do that. This is not some fieldoms of yours or your personal property, no. That Governor was a good fella. Why do we do these things as Africans? The President of Zambia must give us the reasons why he dismissed the Governor or else hell is on his way. I will mobilise,” Mboweni’s tweet read.

In reaction to Mboweni, Siliya also tweeted saying the minister should concentrate on attending to COVID-19 problems facing the South African people, stressing that the Central Bank issue was a sovereign matter for Zambia.

“We are very surprised with Tito Mboweni’s immature and improper criticism of a sovereign decision by Zambia. The Minister should be attending to COVID problems facing the South Africans, our focus here. We will pursue matter diplomatically,” Siliya tweeted.

And reacting to Siliya’s tweet, Lifuka said instead of attacking the foreign minister over his comment, government should begin to think about how to address the consequences that will be brought about the changes made at BoZ.

“This is simply deflecting from the real issue that the sovereign decision made will have catastrophic consequences for this country. Why don’t you address that first instead of chasing the wind? The economy is in trouble and that should be priority for you and your colleagues,” Lifuka stated.

Minister Mboweni noted that his statement had caused a diplomatic tiff, but he insisted that he stood by his message.

“Looks like I am in trouble about my statement on the dismissal of the Bank of Zambia Governor! I stand by my statement. Central Bank independence is key. Not negotiable. Let all central bankers speak out!” he tweeted.

There is one thing MMD presidents were good at – respect for pillar offices for the economy. They would always appoint…

Posted by Laura Miti on Sunday, 23 August 2020

Meanwhile, Alliance for Community Action (ACA) executive director Laura Miti said the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) Government was better as it respected the institutional pillars of the economy.

“There is one thing MMD presidents were good at – respect for pillar offices for the economy. They would always appoint the best BOZ Governer & Finance Minister possible. Izi ziliko manje, ungaseke. Kupeza muntu azivinila pa dance floor (These that are there now, you can laugh. Just to find someone dancing on the dance floor and they say) ati hey, would you like to be BOZ Governor?” Miti stated in her tweet.

International Trade Police Consultant Trevor Simumba also tweeted saying; ” My argument is very simple and straightforward. HE ECL has every right to want to work with a Central Bank Governor of his choice but replacing Dr. Kalyalya with a totally inept and ill qualified person does more damage to Zambia’s fragile economy.”

Simumba also stated that the timing of Dr Kalyalya’s dismissal without any reason sent a negative signal to the markets and that it would cause real damage to the economy.

“We have enough competent people within BOZ like Dr. Chipimo or even Dr. Pamu Mulenga who can do this job. More importantly the timing of this dismissal of a credible well regarded Governor without any reason sends a negative signal to the markets, we will see real damage,” tweeted Simumba.

BLOOMBERG: The president on Saturday appointed Christopher Mvunga, who was a deputy secretary to the cabinet and previously served Lungu as deputy finance minister. He takes over as inflation lingers near 16% and the economy is set to contract 4.2% this year. He’ll also have to contend with a currency that’s the world’s second-worst performer this year, having depreciated by nearly 26% against the dollar.