Ambassador Emmanuel Mwamba, a former Zambian High Commissioner to South Africa and Ethipia, has weighed in on the ongoing debate surrounding the legality of Clayson Hamasaka’s position at State House. In a statement released on Friday, Mwamba stated that Hamasaka’s position is illegal and warned of the dangers of having unsworn-in officers working in the inner office of the President.
The debate was sparked by comments made by Citizen First President Harry Kalaba, who had questioned the existence of Hamasaka’s position and called on President Hakainde Hichilema to regularize it. Kalaba also disclosed that former Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations, Anthony Bwalya, had been made to submit hand-over notes to the President, Deputy Secretary to Cabinet, and Hamasaka, wondering why a junior officer like Hamasaka would be copied in such communication.
Hamasaka had responded by stating that his position is legally established and enjoys treasury authority from the Ministry of Finance. He also claimed that if his position did not exist in the Establishment at State House, then it has since been created by President Hakainde Hichilema using Article 92(2) (f) of the Republican Constitution.
However, Ambassador Mwamba’s statement appears to contradict Hamasaka’s claims. Mwamba noted that the media section at State House has a well-defined establishment that has been approved by the Public Service Management Division and Ministry of Finance over the last 30 years. The head of the section is the Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations, and under the Special Assistant is the position of Chief Analyst, who is also sworn-in by the President.
Mwamba went on to point out that when President Hichilema appointed Anthony Bwalya as Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations, Bwalya took an Oath of Office and was sworn-in. However, Hamasaka’s mechanism of appointment remains opaque, and he has not been sworn-in by the President. Mwamba also noted that because of their proximity to the Head of State, it is mandatory that both Special Assistants and their deputies take an Oath and are sworn-in by the President for the purposes of securing state secrets, classified information, and because of their access to presidential meetings such as Cabinet Meetings that are classified.
Mwamba further stated that the President’s constitutional powers are not Carte Blanche but are embedded and guided by subsidiary legislations, rules, regulations, and practice. The President does not create positions for individuals; he creates positions that can be filled by any person qualified to hold such an office, informed by other values such as balancing gender, age, and diversity.
Ambassador Mwamba called on President Hichilema to respect the constitutional guidelines of his office and flush out unsworn-in officers working in the inner office of the President. Mwamba agreed with Hon. Harry Kalaba that it is dangerous and careless for the Presidency and the country to have such individuals freely interacting with state secrets, confidential materials, and attending classified meetings.