FORMER PF secretary general Davies Mwila says there is no justification for having four Permanent Secretaries for Special Duties, arguing that President Hakainde Hichilema is just creating jobs for friends and relatives.

In an interview, Mwila doubted that government would secure an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) because of its increased expenditure through creation of unnecessary positions.

“When you change a government, you change a government for the better. What I mean is that things have to be better than they were before in the previous regime. If things are getting worse, then you have a problem. When the UPND was in opposition, they used to criticise. They said they would trim the cabinet, they were in the forefront that they have to reduce government officials and they were in the forefront in terms of reducing the number of permanent secretaries. There is no justification where the State House can have four Permanent Secretaries, there is no justification to that. You can go back to Kaunda, Chiluba, Mwanawasa and Rupiah Banda, Michael Sata and Edgar Lungu days, all these five regimes have never had even two permanent secretaries. What is so special about the UPND having four permanent secretaries for special duties?” he wondered.

“Look at the positions that they have created in the media department, there are too many people. What the President is doing, he is just trying to create positions for his friends and relatives that is all. Otherwise, the cost of running a government is high. I can assure you that the International Monetary Fund will not give us the money because those are some of the conditions that they give the government. They want you to reduce on the expenditure of the government. If you look at the expenditure now, it is going up. So chances are very slim that they will get the money from the IMF.”

Mwila said it was unfortunate that the Ministry of Information could not clearly explain the responsibilities of Permanent Secretaries for Special Duties.

“They cannot even explain their roles and responsibilities. The Director at the Ministry of Information Thabo Kawana was being interviewed but he could not even explain. How are they going to convince people? When you create positions such as Permanent Secretary for Special Duties, it is like you just want to send him to your village to take mealie meal for your mother. Those are the jobs they are creating because they cannot explain their roles and responsibilities. So as far as we are concerned, the government must relook at what they have done. Otherwise, the practice has been that you will only have one Permanent Secretary at State House,” he said.

And asked if he thought the UPND was being inconsistent with their commitment to reduce government expenditure, Mwila answered in the affirmative.

“That is why if you look at the promises they made on the recruitment of the 30,000 civil servants, they cannot do it. Where are they going to get the money from to pay the 30,000 workers if they cannot manage the number that they have as of now? So that is the concern of the government. So that is why they are adamant and cannot explain to convince the people how they arrived at four Permanent Secretaries. So the government and the President must relook at that,” said Mwila.

“Of course, because they used to criticise the PF on the expenditure part and that we created too many positions. We expected them to reduce the number of government officials but the number is going up. Just look at State House itself? There is no justification for you to have all those positions. So that is the concern of Zambians.”