By Wesley Ngwenya
The President and his cabinet ministers are undoubtedly the most powerful men and women in our country. These people are responsible for implementing policy, driving the economy
and controlling Zambia’s meager resources. The President at the helm is the overall Chief Executive Officer of the land.
In Zambia, especially, he is so powerful so much so that he is literally revered and somewhat admired by friends and foes alike. How should this powerful man together with his team govern the country?
With the way things are going in our country—it got me thinking. In the corporate world we are subjected to evaluations, reviews, goals, deadlines, and etcetera. Why not have our president give his ministers specific objectives and goals when they are appointed? Why not ensure that the president outlines clear job descriptions that are known to the public. He will clearly give each minister deadlines on what they have to achieve. Then every year, he would sit with each of the ministers and have a one-on-one on the state of affairs in their ministry. If the minister fails the review it is very clear what will happen to him or her.
This approach as a president will force him look for the best of the best to head the various ministries. It will also help the president to be more objective and overlook petty issues and concentrate on real issues. The president will ensure that the ministers do not personalize their jobs. They will be made to understand that as ministers they are custodians and answerable to the Zambian people. I propose that the president should reward the best performing minister with an award and a paid for family vacation to anywhere of his or her choice.
Among the indicators of how best performing a ministry should include; a) the ministry which saved the government the most money by reducing expenses or adopting cheaper and conservative use of resources, b) the ministry which utilized the human capital to capacity by keeping idle hours to a minimum, c) the ministry which avoided workshops, d) the ministry that hired the most qualified and competent personnel.
If these indicators would have been presented to the current ministers we have, I wonder if they would have taken the jobs in the first place. In the back of their minds, these are impossibilities but in reality it just takes common sense and a willing soul. Being a leader, is more than just showing off your power. Our leaders are obsessed with statements like, “I will sort them out!” Daily, in public they display cheap politics and kindergarten behavior.
When basic leadership principles are followed, it is likely that the leader will earn the due respect naturally. The highest office in the land should, at all cost, be the first one of uphold these principles. It is sad when the office displays personnel disagreement in public. How can someone you appointed as a minister and you have been working with for so long suddenly become a devil and be subjected to public humiliation? Since the president has so much power it is just fair that he equally be subjected to the same scrutiny and given goals, by parliament, which he ought to meet during his tenure in office.
Because of the urgency of the situation in our country we need good hardworking men and women. Men and women who will sacrifice their wealth, for instance, to ensure that others’ lives are better off. Can you imagine a Zambia where leaders got poorer after they served in government? That will be Zambia we will all be proud to be part of.