LOCAL Government and Rural Development Minister Gary Nkombo says government will employ over 20,000 teachers to reduce unemployment among trained professionals.

Speaking during a town hall meeting in Mazabuka, Saturday, Nkombo said Zambians would see an improvement in the education sector as the national budget was presented.

“You will see from the budget, without me preempting what the Minister of Finance is going to say, but I can tell you what you should expect is a large improvement in the education sector. You will see a large improvement in the education sector starting with the establishment. You know that the recruitment of teachers has been very erratic. They have been employing something like 4,000 to 5,000 a year. I will tell you now and hold me to my word, this year I am quite sure we will employ over 20,000 teachers,” Nkombo said.

“I am saying this without doubt in my mind that the figure will probably be much more than the figure I have mentioned and for a long time to come until we absorb all those trained to be teachers and are just at home. This has come as a result of good will coming from the people. The exact pronouncement will be made. That is to show you that we are dealing with a serious lot of people and not jokers. Education is a bedrock of any human survival and it is an equaliser.”

And Nkombo said anyone who was fired based on their political affiliation or tribe by the PF government should be reinstated.

“The President has said anybody who could provide evidence of being unfairly fired or ethnic extraction which you would call tribal or fired based on political affiliation, all these people must be reinstated. I want you to know using this platform that you are not the only one who suffered such kind of a loss. Those are some of the things that need to be addressed although we are restrained to talk about PF, we shall forever keep PF on our tongue because of the things they did. As a man lives, so shall he die. If you live by the sword, you will die by the sword,” he said.

Nkombo said government would reunite families that had been separated due to work.

“President Hakainde Hichilema is not a one man show. If he was a one man show he would not have appointed a cabinet. I can confirm to you that ever since I was appointed as Minister Local Government and Rural Development, it is me who has had to call the President to ask him for what I should do here in terms of my many jackets. I talk to him on a daily basis and not a single day has he imposed himself. There is so much goodwill coming to support us and many who were scared have come. In one of the meetings I had, someone said ‘do you know I was in the Mulungushi conference when you stood up to the ECZ but underneath my table, I was screaming’,” he said.

“One thing I know for a fact is that we will never be like the PF. The PF using the Local Government Service Commission broke families. A family is the smallest unit of social order and if you want social order you start at home. One has to travel across the country to get conjugal rights and that is not good. So one thing we are going to do is we are going to guide. That is a low hanging fruit and I can make a public announcement to bring families together. That is what we will do.”

Meanwhile, Nkombo said government would restore sanity in the Local Government Service Commission.

“I must confess here that we found a challenge with the Local Government Service Commission because PF uses this Commission to exercise those people. Anybody who did not sing the PF song was either fired or transferred regardless of what capacity they had gained. The PF had feasted in arbitrary dismissal of employees and transfers of employees. The Act that dictates the Commission indicates that in the absence of the chairman, the vice must act. I got insults that the Minister has appointed a PF cadre but she was the vice. That demonstrated to me the state of affairs in the Commission,” said Nkombo.

“That should demonstrate to you why we are putting our feet down when everybody is screaming that ‘fire all the town clerks and council secretaries because they are all PF’. We cannot do that because in the way there will be collateral damage that even good people will end up being subjected to. All these council secretaries and town clerks are operating on pension and they are not on contract where you can just terminate and enjoy the fruits of it. So we are a thinking government and we are under pressure to clean up. We need time to study. We should agree that it is a system that makes people bad and manipulates people.”