Between 2003 and 2005, I was one of the commissioners appointed by President Levy Mwanawasa to draft the new constitution of Zambia. I, and the rest of the team, traversed the entire country to listen to Zambians as to what they wanted in the new constitution. One issue that garnered unanimous position was the issue of deputy Ministers.
“The majority of those who addressed the Commission on this subject preferred that the office be abolished, as its continued existence could not be justified,” read our final report at page 348 of the Mung’omba Report.
So, If there is ever one issue that garnered consensus in Zambia is the removal of deputy Ministers.
They were too many and did no work at all. Deputy Ministers do not sit in Cabinet. And when the substantive Minister is out of station, deputy Ministers do not act in that position but instead another Cabinet Minister from another ministry sits in. So deputy Ministers just sit in offices, drink tea and read newspapers. Worse off If they have a stingy Cabinet Minister, they suffer – as they will never even see any brief on what is happening in the ministry.
You see, you cannot compare the work of Permanent Secretary to that of deputy Minister. The two are in different category. The former is a professional civil servant hired supposedly based on his education qualifications and experience. While the latter is a politician with mostly no known experience in the field. At most, that proposal of bringing back deputy Ministers should be removed from the draft constitution! The people already spoke! What more do you want mwebantu….