Activists say ministers shouldn’t hire own spokespersons: ‘It’s politics of appeasement’

Rights activists say Lazarus Chakwera administration’s decision to let cabinet ministers appoint own spokespersons is part of a scheme aimed at legitimizing blatant siphoning of taxpayers’ money into the pockets of the Tonse Alliance handclappers and bootlickers.

In a statement today, the Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has condemned the move by the government which has given permission to 29 Cabinet Ministers and their deputies permission to hire personal Public Relations Officers (PROs) at a time when the same government is riddled with unprecedented domestic and external debts.

Secretary to the President and Cabinet Mr. Zangazanga Chikhosi, in a letter dated October 21, 2020, said  ministers and their deputies should be provided with PROs on contract basis but also in line with the tenure of office of the ministers and their deputies.

Namiwa

Chikhosi added that the ministers and their deputies have the luxury to appoint a suitable person.

But CDEDI in its statement argues that 29 ministers and deputy ministers who already have own Personal Assistants (PAs), mostly trained journalists.

CDEDI also noted that government has employed PROs for almost all the ministries and departments and these spokespersons also speak on behalf of the ministries on issues that are bordering on policy direction.

“Do cabinet ministers and their deputies really need personal PROs? Isn’t this a glaring duplication and waste of scarce government resources?

“We at CDEDI, are tempted to believe that this is a well calculated scheme aimed at legitimizing blatant siphoning of taxpayers’ money into the pockets of the Tonse Alliance handclappers and bootlickers.

“It is disheartening to note that the SPC has given a nod to a policy direction aimed at appeasing individuals that are well connected with the ruling elite, and mostly those in urban set-up. This is a total contradiction to the Tonse Alliance promise of prudent use of government resources,” the organisation said in its statement signed by executive director Sylvester Namiwa.

According to the rights group, it is of the view that the Tonse Alliance government is now totally disoriented and has engaged an extra gear on its way to self-destruction.

CDEDI has challenged the Tonse Alliance government to desist the temptation of pleasing everyone. The organisation has also demanded President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera to immediately reverse the retrogressive decision.

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