Economist and political activist Trevor Simumba is reported as having demanded that President Lungu fires finance minister Margret Mwanakatwe following her disastrous appearance on Bloomberg the financial media house. Simumba has gone on to say the President should replace Mwanakatwe with Dolika Banda, a nice to former president Rupiah Banda.
And Simumba is not alone in his view that Mwanakatwe must go for the good of the economy and the country in general . It is the generally held view in business and finance circles.
Whereas we agree with Simumba that it’s time the President parted ways with his blundering finance minister, we doubt that the President could make that bold move.
Earlier in the EL presidency we had stated right here on this page that the cabinet that President Lungu had chosen was largely not to serve the country but to serve the President himself and further his political desires.
We can give examples.
Look at Kampyongo a minister of home affairs who is frequently linked to violence and abusing the police for polical and even egotistical reasons. Or a Mulenga Kampamba at Livestock. To do what only goodness knows. Given Lubinda at Justice a man without any legal background. Lubinda’s purpose it would appear is just to push through a constitutional amendment which he can’t question. Amendments which the PF seem to think will extend their stay at the helm of power.
Consider Chitotela who has been left at infrastructure development despite being cited for corruption. Not withstand that that particular ministry has high corruption risk because of the nature of transactions its responsible for.
Or Freedom Sikazwe who is only there to smile and laugh at every joke of the President no matter how dry.
The same goes for Mwanakatwe. Her purpose at MOF is to justify the ever ballooning debt and unbridled expenditure as she did on that same Bloomberg interview. The President would not want to see a stop to the infrastructure program for what would he Sonta in 2021? He has said as much on numerous occasions.
This is exactly why Felix Mutati was removed as minister of finance. Mutiti, although true that he tried to feather his political ambitions using his position, was more guilty of trying to pursue austerity with vigor and seeing to it that public debt was within manageable limits. This did not sit well the cash thirsty PF.
Simumba should also remember that the President has stated he would not dispense with any of beloved ministers or govt officials on the whims of the public not how genuine those concerns are.
Mwanakatwe’s appearance on Bloomberg greatly unsettled the international financial markets resulting in the Kwacha depreciating massively in last Friday’s trading session. Similarly Zambia’s Euro bonds lost considerable ground on the international markets. The general consensus was that Mwanakatwe did not have a single idea as to what economic management was all about.