Misunderstanding of DCs roles has led to failure in implementing Government policies-Msiska

Dr Roland Msiska Secretary to the Cabinet
Dr Roland Msiska Secretary to the Cabinet

INADEQUATE understanding of district commissioners’ roles and responsibilities has led to failure in the implementation of some of the Government policies and programmes, Secretary to the Cabinet Roland Msiska has said.

Dr Msiska said there was need to ensure that commissioners were fully aware of their roles and responsibilities with regard to the Government’s programmes and procedures to avoid making decisions based on assumptions.

He said this yesterday at Moba Hotel in Kitwe during the official opening of the induction workshop for commissioners drawn from the Copperbelt, Northern, Luapula, North-Western and Western provinces.

The objective of the workshop, which started on Wednesday and is scheduled to close on Sunday, is to acquaint district commissioners with functions of Government aimed at improving performance for effective and efficient delivery of services to the people.

Dr Msiska said the Government had recognised that in the past, implementation of some of the policies and programmes had either failed or lagged behind because of a number of reasons.

“Among these reasons is inadequate understanding by district commissioners of their special roles and responsibilities,” Dr Msiska said.

He also cited inadequate formal induction programmes for commissioners coming from diverse backgrounds with varying experiences and expectations, as well as poor communication and lack of transparency.

Dr Msiska said lack of clear understanding and adherence to laid-down roles and responsibilities had resulted in poor and strained working relationships, which adversely affected the implementation of national programmes.

He reminded the commissioners of President Michael Sata’s address to Parliament at the official opening of the fourth session of the 11th National Assembly, where the Head of State reiterated the Government’s commitment to having a professional and efficient public service.

“To ensure that public service officers are adequately prepared to discharge their duties, the Government has established the National School of Government which will soon be offering training to those intending to join and reorienting those already serving in the public service,” he said.

It was Dr Msiska’s expectation that the commissioners, like all other civil servants, should be able to understand and articulate the aspirations of Government as highlighted in the Patriotic Front manifesto and the revised Sixth National Development Plan and other national policies.


  1. So we have the DCs, Provincial Ministers, PS, MP, Councillors and branch chairpersons. Who says Zambia is a poor a country?

  2. All government public sectors, councils and ministerial departments should have an overhaul. It should be the responsibility of each person at the top to provide a full departmental job structure with associated job descriptions for each worker/employer. Every employer should review their job description within a fixed period of time and provide a short comparitive job outline showing what they do, have done in the last year and how alligned they are to their job description realting to their current position. All these job descriptions will have to be reviewed at local level by said “person @ the top” in every department as a whole (and that person will be responsible for any changes or not of the corporate structure) hence responsibility and accountability. Then review contracts.

  3. All staff should be awarded a banding according to their job description and paid according to scale related to experience and education. All contracts associated with any government/council departments will then need to be reviewed and obligations ascertained to determine value and quality…and at this stage any conflicts of interest acertained and resolved (in or out..no in between). Most countries that have to, are resolving austerity and dealing with efficency in this way. Instead of targetting frontline government staff it should be those ghost jobs and uselessly titled peoples that we should be either firing or providing focus for…as you really wonder what some people actually do in some of these departments.

  4. Just opening a School of Government will not resolve any of these issues in the present tense. All that would do is allign favourites for certain areas in “public” service, the word public used very loosely. People like DCs would have been given jobs and interviews based on criteria laid within the job description which outlines roles etc. If you don’t know your roles, then you shouldn’t be in that job and shouldn’t have got the job. Everyone from the DC, TC and toilet cleaners must have a job description in all public and government roles.

  5. Msiska point on all DCs are just PF carders like the one we have here in ndola,the man can not sign his sign twice can not make a statement without using bemba what a DC.

  6. The government should be the first to understand the role of the DC. Starting as cadres for Chiluba’s third term bid, there has been no definite role for these cadres. What is Msiska talking about?

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