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Appointment of wives, relatives to State-owned enterprises

Dear Editor,

SINCE time immemorial, Zesco and other State- owned enterprises have been subjected to regular political abuse.

If it is not turning them into cash-cows by hijacking the procurement process, they are used as employers of; wives, siblings and relatives.

The overstaffing affecting these institutions is among others, a result of this regu- lar political pressure, where parastatals are forced to “cre- ate” employment and employ as many of these relatives to politicians, as possible.

It is for this reason that the appointment of Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Chipoka Mulenga’s wife, Likonge Makai Mulenga as Board Chairperson of the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) and the appointment of Shesippie Banda Nzovu, spouse to Minister of Green Economy Eng. Collins Nzovu, as Head of Procurement, raises a stormy debate.

While supporters of Government may justify that the persons involved are qualified, this doesn’t take away the fact that, the persons in- volved have benefitted from the historical and perpetua- tion of abuse of state-owned enterprises by politicians.

On his part, Mr Nzovu has defended his wife’s appoint- ment, claiming that besides being highly qualified, she was reinstated because she was allegedly hounded out of Zesco because of belonging to the opposition.


It is expected that the new dawn administration must stop or stay away from deci- sions and actions that pro- moted the rot and corruption, cronyism, nepotism, and fa- vouritism.

It appears that to this gov- ernment, everyone that was fired for corruption or un- professional misconduct can simply claim that they were victimised because of their tribes or politics and they get a reinstatement.

Mr Nzovu says his beloved wife was among persons dis- missed from Zesco because they belonged to the opposi- tion.

So borrowing his reason- ing, is the current purge of senior staff at Zesco, where highly qualified persons, have been fired because they are suspected to be members of the PF, justified?


Similar reports have emerged that the son to the Vice President, Ms Mutale Nalumango, has been promoted as Head of Procurement at the Zambia National Service.

In this case, it debunks the myth being promoted by the assertions of persons like Mr Nzovu.

The officer in this case, has been at ZNS for many years and was never fired because his mother was a long-serv- ing senior leader of the oppo- sition.

In fact, the concerned offi- cer kept on rising under the previous government based on his own qualifications, merit and discipline.

His and many other cases I can show, demonstrate that the victimisation of persons from certain tribes or politi- cal affiliation, which has as- sumed proportions of truth, is heightened propaganda than driven by solid facts.

In fact, the process has been taken advantage of and all those persons being rein- stated just need to cry victi- misation based on ethnic or political affiliation.

In fact the reverse is true. All recent dismissals and the ongoing purge of officers in government and state-owned enterprises have targeted persons based on the same vices; Political and ethnic af- filiation.

How can you fight an il- legality with illegality, fight tribalism with tribalism? And fight persecution with perse- cution?


All Zambians who are eli- gible to jobs or business con- tracts or opportunities must have fair access to them.

They don’t need to know anyonetogetajobortodo business.

If they are qualified to do such a job, or have capacity to undertake the works, they should be given an opportu- nity.

The continued abuse of state-owned institutions by the political stock, remains an abuse, whether done by the PF or UPND.

A wrong done by the PF, remains a wrong if it is per- petuated by the UPND gov- ernment.

Zesco or the IDC needed to advertise all these senior positions including that of the Chief Executive Officer, to help attract the best qualified Zambians to one of Africa’s largest utility.

This is to return the bleed- ing utility to its strategic role in the development of our country.

Such a decision on Zesco and many others in the ener- gy sector, can begin to place these institutions as drivers to the development of our country.

If President Hakainde Hichilema is serious about fighting corruption, tribal- ism, nepotism, cronyism and favouritism, he should revoke such appointments and urge all CEO’s to abide by an ac- ceptable developed code of conduct.



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