Zambia’s Secretary to the Cabinet, Patrick Kangwa, has stated that disobeying a directive from the country’s President is a severe lapse, especially at the level of government officials. Speaking on ZNBC’s Sunday Interview program, Kangwa noted that most trips taken by ministers have been excessive, and many have been stopped. The government will be selling 14 luxury 4×4 vehicles, which need to be explained following the presidential directive, and anyone found wanting will face appropriate disciplinary action, he added.
The government had purchased the VXs duty-free, and there would be no losses incurred in the selling of the vehicles. Kangwa stressed that the government is trying to move all processes online to reduce person-to-person contact, thereby reducing bribes and other illegalities.
Kangwa further explained that the Cabinet Office approves trips, and permanent secretaries must also approve them, with a line that distinguishes what the government needs to do and what it should not do. Many trips are stopped, but in agreement with the President, the number of trips has been excessive. The government is taking steps to rectify this, with identified areas of foreign travel, local travel, workshops, abuse of government resources, and procurement, to be sorted out simultaneously.
The Secretary to the Cabinet said that the government had brought several ministries under connectivity, with most meetings now being held online, and the number of people traveling reduced to cut costs. The system was beginning to defend itself, with bad civil servants able to defend each other, and so the government introduced digitization as a cost-cutting intervention.
Kangwa emphasized that the transformation unit was working with various ministries, with digitization being a significant cost-cutting intervention by the government. The government has also introduced the pricing index to assist in terms of reasonableness, which helps in terms of quality, timeliness, and cost. The procurement officers are being disciplined, suspended, or fired, with many openings in the last few months, and the Civil Service Commission has started advertising for these jobs internally for promotion.
Kangwa reiterated that it was not automatic that an officer in an institution would be promoted if the person they report to is removed or promoted. They must be the best amongst many to make that happen.