PRESIDENT Lungu is working on modalities to integrate deputy ministers into cabinet meetings for them to effectively discharge cabinet ministers’ functions in the absence of substantive office-holders.
He has also directed Vice-President Inonge Wina to ensure there is a ministerial statement each week in parliament explaining Government’s programmes.
Mr Lungu further said that he expects nothing but hard work from his ministers because the Patriotic Front (PF) has less than a year to prove that it means well for citizens.
President Lungu said it is important that deputy ministers are part of cabinet meeting proceedings for them to work hand in hand with ministers because they both serve the interests of citizens.
He said this at a swearing-in ceremony for Minister of Gender and Child Development Nkandu Luo and 29 deputy ministers yesterday.
“What I have seen is that there is no co-ordination between the minister and his deputy. The minister is usually working alone but this should come to an end.
“We are trying to work out mechanisms and modalities in Cabinet which will allow our deputy ministers share in the proceedings of Cabinet,” Mr Lungu said.
He said he will engage Ms Wina and Cabinet Office on how to successfully execute the inclusion of deputy ministers in Cabinet meetings.
President Lungu said a deputy minister is supposed to deputise a minister as well as be his vice and assistant.
He said it should be a policy, custom and practice that Cabinet ministers work with their deputies and promote more interaction.
President Lungu said deputy ministers struggle to give answers in Parliament because Cabinet ministers usually work in isolation.
He said he will be engaging Parliament to identify which Standing Orders can be amended to allow deputy ministers to participate effectively in the house.
“I believe my Vice-President is President when I leave the country, automatically. So similarly, when your minister is not there, you automatically become the minister and work out things,” Mr Lungu said.
The President urged ministers and their deputies to be proactive in Parliament by setting Government’s agenda and not always reacting to questions from the opposition members of Parliament.
He said Government officials should give opposition MPs and Zambians a lot of information as they deserve to know.
“So Your Honour, the Vice-President [Inonge Wina], ensure that each week there will be a ministerial statement coming out from Government explaining what is going on.
Also tell them why I went to Angola,” President Lungu said.
He said the appointees should not expect to be praised all the time because serving people is a “thankless job” but they should not be distracted.
The deputy ministers who were sworn in are Miles Sampa who has retained his position at Commerce; Stephen Kampyongo and Bwalya Chungu (Office of the Vice-President); Keith Mukata (Justice), Christopher Mulenga (Defence) and Chitalu Chilufya who has bounced back at Health.
Others are Rayfold Mbulu (Foreign Affairs); Panji Kaunda and Gerry Chanda (Home Affairs); Greyfold Monde and Maxus Ng’onga (Agriculture); Ronald Chitotela (Youth and Sport); Richard Musukwa and Charles Zulu ( Mines, Energy and Water Development); Forrie Tembo(Information and Broadcasting Services); David Mabumba (Education); and Davis Mwango and Suzan Kawandami (Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection).
Others are Nicholas Banda and Danny Chingimbu (Local Government); Patrick Ngoma and Esther Banda (Tourism); Alfreda Kansembe (Labour); Obias Chisala and Josephine Limata (Community Development); Mutaba Mwali and Richwell Siamunene (Transport, Works, Supply and Communications); Dorothy Kazunga and Joseph Lungu (Gender and Child Development); and John Kufuna (Chiefs and Traditional Affairs).
The President has not made any appointment to the position of deputy minister of Finance.
And Mr Chitotela thanked President Lungu for the confidence he has shown by appointing him as deputy minister and pledged to work to his required expectations.