Saturday, June 15, 2024

Only career diplomats will serve in foreign service


File:Some Zambian Ambassadors and High Commissioners during a diplomatic conference in Chisamba.
File:Some Zambian Ambassadors and High Commissioners during a diplomatic conference in Chisamba.

The national constitution convention has amended the executive functions of the president to allow the head of state appoint career diplomats or persons who have relevant professional qualification to serve in foreign missions.
The convention has further provided in the same article that all the appointments of ambassadors, high commissioners and consuls be ratified by parliament to ensure that only qualified persons are appointed.
This is contained in clause 2 (b) of Article 90 of the first draft constitution.

In debating the clause, Keembe Member of Parliament (MP) Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha noted that the amendment does not take away powers from the president to appoint diplomats but merely seeks to ensure that only qualified persons are appointed to represent Zambia in foreign countries.

Lt. Gen. Shikapwasha, who once served as Foreign Affairs Minister during the MMD regime, explained that he faced problems with some diplomats who could not perform because they were not qualified to serve in foreign missions as they had no professionl qualification in any field.

But Kasempa MMD MP, Kabinga Pande, who also once served as Minister of Foreign Affairs, opposed the clause contending that the president should be allowed to appoint anyone he thinks can represent the country better instead of career diplomats.His argument was supported by Deputy Minister of Labour Ronald Chitotela who noted that the amendments were wrongly placed as the president has the powers to appoint civil servants hence the amendment should apply to the civil service if the clause is adopted.

The house unanimously adopted the clause by acclamation vote, meaning that all appointment of diplomats will only be for professional persons who will be ratified by parliament.

Meanwhile, the convention has yet again failed to reach a consensus on some clauses of article 97 that provide for the qualification and disqualification for nomination for election as president and referred the matter to a secret ballot tomorrow.

Divisions arose when the thematic group proposed that they include the age of presidential aspirants which attracted mixed reactions.
After debating, the house conducted an acclamation vote which resulted in a stalemate but the chairperson of the convention declared the delegates that opposed amendments as winners.

This was petitioned by more than 80 delegates who stood to show their disagreement forcing the chairperson to refer the motion to a secret ballot tomorrow.

The amendments suggested that the presidential candidate should not to be over the age of 80 years for them to be eligible to contest the presidential election.

And the convention has since rejected proposals to amend a clause of article 97 that would provide that a presidential aspirant should hold a university degree or its equivalent as minimum academic qualification.
This was after a heated debate as delegates supporting the amendments contended that all presidential aspirants should hold a university degree so that they can be analytical and articulate on global issues.
Those opposing the proposal argued that the clause was discriminatory to many Zambians who have not had a privilege of passing through the university but have the skill and ability to run the country better.
But some delegates noted that leadership requires wisdom and not knowledge adding that the poverty levels in the country have made it impossible for many intelligent Zambians to acquire a university degree qualification.
And Kalomo UPND MP Request Muntanga noted that people without degrees have proved to be good leaders world over unlike professors and others with doctorates.
Mr. Muntanga argued that some degree holders have acquired their qualification through questionable means making them worse than those without degrees hence the need to leave the qualification open for all Zambian with Grade 12 qualification.


    • Not necessarily. Remember there is reference to appointees having a professional qualification. By the current interpretation, this can even be a certificate in CABS. I think first priority must go to civil servants and that the president should convince parliament that there is no civil servant worth the appointment. Accountants should come from the Accountant Generals team. Currently, in some stations you have accountants who have never worked in that profession at all.

    • But when will that be implemented? because right now most embassies are full of junk, like Masebo-Kabimba retarded son.

  1. from what I have seen so far the so-called “relevant professional qualification to serve in foreign missions” is just a theory as most of them do not behave professionally. the bastards are just jealous of Zambians doing well abroad, the same people they are supposed to serve. the picture above was a meeting held by RB in 2011 where he called on Ambassadors to help raise MMD campaign money for 2011 elections. the chap who is second from the left was a so-called career diplomat, but what was e doing at this political meeting?????

  2. I like the Career diplomats part.Atleast it will reduce the appointment’s of mere party cadres.I remember how disappointed i was at one time when the so called diplomat couldnt articulate herself properly.The poor women didn’t even have any clue of what her party was doing back home.In short she was dull.On the degree clause.I think grade 12 is enough.Many are the times i have had met fellow graduates that leaves a lot to be desired.Look at given lubinda the man only has an advanced certificate in forestry but you can`t compare his work rate with a graduate like Winter Kabimba.

    • Obama is about to appoint caroline kennedy as ambassador to japan and a number of other people who raised money for him are in line for diplomatic posting.l do not support this change as ambassadors are merely ceremonial in many places

    • Zambian embassies and high commissions are full of ignorant party cadres and relatives of those in government.



    • The Kapijimpanga you have mentioned was appointed on political grounds and not as a career diplomat. however you have said that she performed well, then it appears that good results do not depend on whether someone is a career diplomat or not but just depends on one’s ability to deliver.

    • Done my undergard. and now doing my MSc. but I cannot articulate issues well but I still remain optimistic that I can run for Presidency one day because I know the Mapatizya formula. How would you rate me, do I stand any chance?????

    • What President? Don’t wish for things that will disadvantage you and your offspring in future my dear friend. You will regret it, don’t throw stones if you live in glass house..

  5. on career diplomats thats really long overdue. i hope no further ammendments will be made to this draft constitution

  6. This is simple. No prior qualifications required, create a “civil service”/” foreign service ” exam and have a review board made up of mp’s that reports to parliament.

    • i agree. Zambia’s first diplomats were not career diplomats but they were hastily trained atound 1964 but they acquitted themselves very well. These included Dunstan Kamana, Vernon Mwaanga, Rupiah Banda, Paul Lusaka, Siteke Mwale to name but a few. And in any case, where are you find career diplomats as the whole system has been politicised.

    • @ eagles eye, exactly my question. Is there an institution that trains diplomats in Zambia? If there is, how come that the Zambian embassies are staffed with mere party cadres and relatives? Or is it that nepotism and tribalism influence the appointing authority? There are indeed more questions than answers.

  7. So Hon Request Muntanga has got the brains ka, this issue of degree doesnt make sense, with copy and paste we see in these Universities and the many Kulima Tower Universities mashrooming everyday a degree is slowly losing its dignity. Next these chaps will say only persons with UNZA degree should run for president. Coz the credibility of many universities in ZED is highly questionable UNZA and CBU are not an exception

  8. We definately need career diplomats and other people with relevant qualifications in the foreign service. No two ways about it. Currently, foreign missions are filled with failed politicians, fake journalists and party cadres who know little or nothing about their jobs. I agree that parliament should be involved in the ratification of any person recommended for diplomatic service. As for a presidential candidate, they need to be men of integrity, financially sound, intelligent and above all men and women with a traceble history and sound track record. A degree may not be necessary, but they must not be the kind that will go into state house with seven guns and a record of having performed well in two ministries. That is far from being enough.

  9. Good move….! We are tired of these chaps in embassies who cannot even arrange for independence day celebrations in these foreign countries let alone arranging for the safety of Zambians in case of wars.

  10. A lot of countries including the U.S. and U.K. have among their diplomats who are appointed from outside the system. The difference is (1) that for key positions they are vetted by the senate and parliament respectively (2) they do not make up the mass of the appointees unlike is the case with us. Three weeks at ZIDS does not teach on much about diplomacy. It should be at least six months like the program VJ had put in place.

  11. And the convention should create an article to appoint cadres. The ascendancy to power has got alot of contributers so the need to legalize cadre and relatives appointments. If you properly define a cadre, you will find that even the President is a cadre. So lets be realistic

  12. Chaps lets not agree blindly like bats. This is not good at all how many career diplomats have we got in Zambia? All of them are retired like VJ…

    • Starts somewhere though. The next set recruited according to the new criteria and maintain that selection criteria onwards.

  13. Too little too late. All the embassies are already flooded with non career diplomats, do you honestly think that the will start replacing them at this stage and cost the taxpayer yet more money? The PF were so excited when they won the elections and started making wrong decisions without proper investigations, now they are beginning to lick their wounds. That’s why there is a saying ‘Look before you leap’. Start with the Masebo/Kabimba kid, is he a career diplomat??

  14. @Maxwell so if things have gone wrong then let them be? Who is going to correct this anomaly. The rot has to stop somewhere ! Who says all have retired? Let this be a lesson that succession planning must be an integral part of running
    any organisation whichever field it is in !

  15. Has this ***** called Request Muntanga heard about the Degree-Holder called BARACK OBAMA? Has he heard about the degree-holder called BILL CLINTON? In the UK it is practically impossible to be Prime Minister without degrees! To Request Muntanga the *****, George Bush rulled better than Barack Obama or Bill Clinton!!! How can we let the illiterate and ignorant take down the country like this? There is no democracy over a job, being President is NOT A RIGHT – you must earn it. Even in the civil service I hear now it is very difficult to become a Director if you have no degree! Are these the c.r.a.p.p.y people we have entrusted to draft our constitution? If you have no degrees there will be plenty other leadership roles you can play, like being a ward counsellor, MP or even cadre!

    • Dont compare onions and mangoes, these countries you are mentioning are from the first world and the prevelages of education far much better than ours. There are a lot of intelligent Zambians who could not get university degrees because of financial constraints, why should they be denied opportunities to vye for presidency. I would have a leader who can deliver to the nation but fail to articulate global issues than one who can articulate global issues but fail to deliver locally.

  16. requiring degrees to be this or that can only come from pipo with an inferiority complex and a very low self esteem fit for stone aged life. So! the dull kids of the rich are the only ones to ve an upper hand in this nation. Shikapwasha is laying ground for his clan whom he corruptly educated at the expense of the masses, to benefit in all manner. Vipuba

  17. bRING BACK sYLVIA mURAMBIWA’S SON WHO IS MENTALLY RETARDED. He is a big health hazard and serious burden to tax payers.

  18. Zambian Diplomats what a joke.They all think they are Presidents.I have been to Zambian offices in Pretoria and London,they are a bunch of *****s who think they are a ruling group for the Zambians living abroad.Zambian tax payers money is cheap money indeed.

  19. Ben Kangwa is one of them He is putting zambia in bad map because he asaulted a senior zambia at zambian embassy in washington dc no action has been taken because is Bemba and his sugar mamy was ps in foreigner affairs.

  20. I welcome this proposal by the delegates to the constitution making process. However, the delegates must demand that the whole appointment system needs to be brought into line with this proposed new law and not just diplomats. We have unqualified party cadres as board members in some parastatals, unqualified people as provincial PS and deputy PS just to mention a few.

  21. Ok, let me understand this..these chaps want diplomats that are qualified and career diplomats but in the same vane dont find it necessary for a president of a modern state to hold a degree? imwe bantu pulease! That makes no sense at all.
    The ambassador’s role is mostly ceremonial. The head of chancery and people like first secretary etc , have to be career diplomats thats for sure. But not the ambassador. Thats why the diplomatic code permits ambassadors to stay in a posting more that 5 years as they are mere care-takers and the “face” of a country. The guys doing the dealing are the other people in the embassy and they have to have high credentials. Most embassies lack credible diplomats. So in a way this is a good move.

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