Saturday, April 20, 2024

Minister of Health Silvia Masebo has No Powers to Fire Civil Servants

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“She is creating a diversionary tactic away from the deep crises facing the Ministry of Health”

By Amb. Emmanuel Mwamba

A disturbing report emerged last evening that the Minister of Health, Hon. Silvia Masebo had fired five directors at her Ministry and at the Public Service Management Division (PSMD).

Ministry of Health Permanent Permanent Secretary (Administration), Dr George Magwende confirmed that the Ministry has suspended five officers; Director – Human Resource, Frederick Mwila and his assistant, Dennis Siamphwisi, Director- Planning, Henry Kasembe, Chief Human Resource Administrator, Ireen Bwalya, and Senior Human Resource Officer, James Makasa.

Also affected is Mrs Peggy Chirwa, Director at Public Service Management Service Division (PSMD) under Recruitment and Placement, who has allegedly been fired.

The six are accused of promoting irregularities during the delayed process to recruit the 11,200 health workers.
This came to light, especially during the case of a radiographer, whose letter of employment was leaked to social media.

It must be made very clear that the employment, discipline and termination of employment of a public officer is the sole constitutional preserve of the President, delegated through relevant Public Service Commissions.

ARTICLE 185 provides:

Public Officers
(1) The President has, in accordance with and subject to the other provisions of this Constitution, the power to:
(a) appoint and confirm public officers;
(b) exercise disciplinary control over public officers; and
(c) terminate the employment of a public officer.
(2) The President’s functions, as specified in clause (1), shall be exercised by the relevant Service Commission as specified in this Constitution and as prescribed.
(4) A function of a service commission may be delegated to a public officer, as prescribed.

It has been reported that the suspension and dismissal have been done at the instigation and direction of the Minister of Health, Hon Silvia Masebo. In this case Masebo and her team must be alive to the constitutional provisions and the consequences of the breach.

But clearly, this is a side-show designed to divert our attention to a matter that has raised anxieties and preoccupied the nation with a concern-the critical shortage of medicines and medical supplies in hospitals and Clinics.

Shortage of Medicines and Medical Supplies

A critical shortage of medicines and medical supplies have hit hospitals in the last six months and has also affected ancillary facilities such as laboratories. In many cases, laboratories have shut down due to a lack of consumables and reagents. Patients have been advised to send laboratory samples to private facilities and forced to buy medicines from private pharmacies.

Masebo and her technical team have not bought any medicine and medical supplies in the last six months claiming that they are re-organising the sub-sector. With the medicine and medical supplies left by the Patriotic Front Government running out, hospital operations country-wide have been adversely affected. Masebo has strangely directed hospitals to use, in the interim, monthly grants sent to hospitals for operations and administration, to buy medicines.

In Zambia, the purchase of medicines and medical supplies is the statutory preserve of the Zambia Medicines and Medical Supplies Agency (ZAMMSA) (formerly Medical Stores). Therefore this directive is not only illegal but constitutes the misapplication and misuse of public resources and will likely attract audit queries. She should ask someone near her; Anna Chifungula, the newly appointed Board Chairperson for the Zambia Medicines and Medical Supplies Agency (ZAMMSA) as she is one of the best Auditor-Generals this country has ever produced.

Conclusion

It is interesting to note that President Hakainde Hichilema took time to spend time at Ndeke House, the Ministry Headquarters, to familiarize himself with the challenges the Ministry is facing in the recruitment of the 11,200 workers and the critical shortage of medicines in hospitals. However, checking his views about the crisis as posted on his Facebook page, reveals a worrying scenario. He has regurgitated what constitutes the lies and narrative that Masebo has peddled to the nation, in the last six months.

President Hakainde Hichilema blames procurement, legacy issues such as pilferage and corruption, as factors affecting the timely delivery of medicines to hospitals. The actions were so far taken by Masebo, to reinvent the wheel, abandon a working system that has taken decades to establish and refine with cooperating partners, and her quest to tackle the alleged corruption, has collapsed the health care system resulting in the critical shortage of medicines and medical supplies in hospitals in the last six months.

The numerous deaths that have occurred during this period and attributed to this confusing scenario must be documented and Masebo and her team made to account.

24 COMMENTS

  1. Your article attempts to raise people’s emotions yet drugs and medical supplies were in short supply under PF as well. While Masebo has mishandled this issue, it’s rather cheap to try and suggest that it was perfect under Chitalu Chilufya. His regional hubs were empty. As for those that have been dismissed, if indeed they misbehaved then I support instant dismissals. People have lost money in the recruitment of teachers and health workers and this must come to an end. Fire them!

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  2. I have seen a lot of civil servants fired at the directive of a Minister . The Minister is the overall boss in a Ministry and so if he or she wants a certain officer fired, they will certainly go

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    • If you have seen it that doesn’t make it right. Those civil servants can successfully sue the state and will get plenty of compensation. A minister is a political appointee so he/she has no firing powers over civil servants. Its the civil service commission that has powers over civil servants.

  3. O shut it so called Amb Mwamba – more like a cadre mwamba.

    You are a serious liability to this country with only personal interest – let her do her job and sort out the mess and the sabotage going on.

    How do you have employees who are sabotaging the system when lives are at stake ?

    GET A LIFE AND HOPE YOU NEVER AND MEAN NEVER GO FAR IN POLITICS – ZAMBIA DOES NOT NEED SELFISH, GREEDY, DIVISIONAL PEOPLE LIKE YOU.

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  4. Shortage of medicines in hospitals though unacceptable, was there during PF days as well. By trying to project it as a new problem, Mwamba is insulting our intelligence. All the time he was wining and dining with his PF colleagues, he never thought it to be a problem. We have a government now that is at least willing to admit it and to show that the problem is receiving attention from the highest office. If they are going about it the wrong way, it will soon be evident. Considering the gravity of the problem, for as long as they are guilty of indiscretions, it bothers me less if the persons fired is said to be fired by the president or the minister.

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  5. That is what was lacking under PF ……….

    Accountability…………

    Fire none performers and the corrupt……….

    Maybe zambia will work after a good Season of sacking none performers and theives…..

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  6. Now you see how naked Mwamba’s tribal bigotry is, do you think of these five were Mushala, Mweemba, Likando, Malitoli or Hamwiinde this Kasai baboon would have raised his tail exposing his swollen bottom? He claims it’s reported that the suspension & dismissal have been done at the instigation of Hon Silvia Masebo, where is the evidence. Masebo should sue that baboon.

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  7. Also how did the ministry end up with all its Directors being Bemba & Easterners with only one from NW? You see people what we mean when we talk of GRZ institutions bein BEMBAlized under PF but you all know that anyway. So technically these PF Bembas were holding the country to ransom. We told HH to fire these sabotagers – look now.

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  8. The problem is MOH is full to the rafters with corupt PF stooges who happen to civil servants like how this clown Mwamba was when he was Ambassdor…he had no respect for civil service code of conduct.

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  9. I have always been telling people here that Masebo is merely trying to clean up the system & that the shortage of drugs was fake. Two things happened. 1.Chitalu Chilufya & HoneyBee supplied fake drugs for 7 years through out Zambia(so GRZ first has to through these chemicals & ofcourse imagine how empty the shelves will be,and remember this is medicine,which means new legit medicine cannot mix with these chemicals due to contamination,so yes the shelves will be emty and even more empty as we go). 2. The PF cadres in form of these Directors(all from 2 pf regions) withheld the medicines to sabbotage the new GRZ and trust me, this is what mostly prompted HH to interrogate these stoogies himself cos he has heard of them but thot the minister could easily just sort them out, So now wait for…

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  10. Ambassador just a reminder you were PS for Northern and Western Provinces. Your harassments of civil servants on tribal grounds was legendary. ECL had many drawbacks for sure but if given his position of presidency you could rank the worst. We have not forgotten what you did to civil servants

  11. What I keep wondering about supporters of the ruling party is that whenever a wrong or oversight is pointed out, they defend it by blaming PF.
    What they forget is that they are the ones in charge and next time they face voters, it will be their performance under scrutiny and not that of PF.
    Dear upnd, please just deliver to people’s expectations and stop politicking. Improve on what’s working and fix what’s not working.
    Stop attempting a wholesome change of govt systems and procedures. It won’t work in the short run. You’ll just end up disrupting so many things and voters will blame you.

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  12. Emmanuel Mwamba knows the routine, memorized, status quo management of Government systems but doesn’t have a brain that create anything new and positive

  13. Zambians cant look at themselves except through party or tribal lenses. Slowly heading towards Rwanda and Burundi

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  14. At Issacher & Douglas: Yes we blame PF everytime there is a problem because, GRZ orders its Medicines or equipment in other ministries once a year. Since UPND came to power they havent ordered anything yet,which means the stock that is there,that was ordered to last a year, is PF stock. There is nothing that the UPND can be held accountable for right now, other than Policy formulation and cleaning up of rotten ministries as there actions can only come into play next year. for this year, nothing major,besides, it took PF 10 years to destroy the country, now you want UPND to settle a 10 year Debt in 8months? you want them in that 8months to also employ workers, in that 8months,u want them to reduce fuel and electricity, in that 8months you want them to pay workers “who were not paid by…

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  15. With people like Step aside Rwanda is Zambia’s destination. LT please remove these tribal rabble rousers

  16. Masebo, please cleanse the system, leaving with legacy issues from the PF regime will affect your performance. In the PF era, prescriptions to buy medicines were the order of the day.

  17. HELLOOOO IMPOSTER YOUR PF STOOGES ARE BEING FIRED FOR INCOMPETANCY
    AND YOU BLAME UPND
    GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT BROTHER
    PF TIME IS UP TRYING TO FRUSTRATE THE NEW DAWN
    NEXT IS THE POLICE MINISTRY
    ITS FULL OF USELESS OFFICERS
    BYE BYE TO THEM AND GOOD RIDANCE

  18. Step aside is just an upset tonga upnd cadre whose wlfe was effed by a well known pf supporter. I know who he is from his ip address. I am a moderator on this site

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