MMD president Nevers Mumba says it’s premature for anyone to prejudge the performance of the new Cabinet based on the fact that some of the ministers served in previous governments.

In an interview, Wednesday, Mumba said the new Cabinet should be given time to work and be assessed a few months from now.

“I think where we are as a nation, our main preoccupation must be the performance of the new government. It is premature of anyone of the MMD to prejudge the possible performance of this Cabinet. The Zambian people’s interest is basically whether the aspirations are going to be met by this new cabinet and we cannot determine that now until they start to function. They were only appointed yesterday (Wednesday), so we need to give them time to put their hands on the job and maybe after six months we can assess them to see whether they are up to the job,” he said.

“We do not consider all these theories of saying ‘this one is recycled, that one is MMD’ and all that. So the qualification [for] someone to be appointed to cabinet must basically be that he is Zambian, he is capable, he has got necessary experience in the field in which he has been asked to serve and is competent to deliver on behalf of the Zambian people. That’s all. Not a tribe, not his agenda, and not his former political engagement, but [he or she] is capable of delivering on behalf of the Zambian people. So we will give them time, we are watching.”

And Mumba said he was not surprised that President Hakainde Hichilema appointed certain ministers who served in previous governments as they had experience in running a government.

“I think for us (MMD) they are expected because what we expected was that he was going to take both the new and [those with] experience. You can’t run the country which has been so run down economically by 10 years of devastation. We have gotten new people who do not probably have any experience in dealing with some of the things involved in the government. So to see some of the senior people brought back to provide that kind of assistance doesn’t come as a surprise to us because that’s how you build a country. You build on the experience of those that have done it before and you bring in younger people and new people that can learn from those who were there before. So that there is continuity in the manner in which we run the government,” he said.

Meanwhile, the opposition leader welcomed the creation of new ministries, saying they were in tandem with changing times.

“It is the reason why a President has discretion in creating or collapsing ministries. Times are changing and as times are changing, there are certain ministries that are just going to be a drain over finances because they are no longer addressing problems of today as they were 10 years ago. I think it is the responsibility of every President to reorganize the ministries so that they do not neglect the current needs that are there in the nation and at the global level. So we do not have a problem with that. I do understand that it has to be ratified by parliament, we have to change the constitution but he does have power to create ministries,” said Mumba.