Politics is killing Development

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HH with Lungu

By Chipindi Caleb Fundanga

Developing countries like Zambia will continue to find obstacles to development but one that should be closely monitored is politics. In Zambia, politics continues to play a huge part in the way business is run and the way government agencies and ministries are governed.

A look at how our heads of parastatals and ministries are appointed is a route cause. Appointments of all the heads of the biggest state agencies and ministries are done by the President, based purely on his preferences which in this society for most parts evades even the general qualification of an individual. First and foremost an individual must belong to the ruling government or be seen to be in favor of the government of the day or even better a friend to the President and his close confidants.

The appointments of these heads lead to a domino effect of inefficiency. The heads of these agencies and ministries are also pressured into appointing immediate juniors who also fall under the same bracket of either being a member of the ruling party or affiliated to the heads of the various ministries.

Civil servants perform their duties knowing awfully well that their decision making must fall in line with the heads vision whether it may be counterproductive or not. A Zambian civil servant will tell you, if my boss is discussing Microeconomics in a Macroeconomic setup, I have no right to question him but instead fine tune my responses to align with his views. The civil servant knows arguing will only lead to the termination of his contract by his superior for insubordination. Abuse of power by these politically appointed individuals reduces the efficiency the average civil servant has on duty. In an economy where unemployment is prevalent it is considered “ridiculous” for a civil servant to willingly put himself in the firing line of his superiors. A society with such leadership finds itself undervaluing its education sector. Zambia has one of the highest rated universities in the region in University of Zambia. It is then very disheartening that its very educated graduates who go on to be civil servants are left to be nothing but sheep. Talent in most institutions continues to go to waste.

Proposals by civil servants on various issues such as revenue collection and developmental solutions continue to fall on deaf ears because for one reason or another if the decision might seem not to favor the supporters of the ruling party or the business interests of the ruling, then the long-term welfare of the country as whole is ignored.

Developmental projects continue to be highly politicized from the contractor given the project to where and what the project will be. Post elections stories started pouring of the many donations Chinese contractors gave out to the ruling party for their campaign, this is just the tip of the iceberg because in business no favor is done without another one in return. A cycle which then ensues is one of various government projects with highly inflated Bill of Quantities being passed with the rubber stamp of a government guarantee for the construction of utilities which even though may be argued useful are not conducive for our current economic climate.

Chipindi Caleb Fundanga

Institute of Finance And Economics (Zambia)

 

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2 Responses to Politics is killing Development

  1. Well written and to the point. A lot us have a great will to work but with fear of the way things are we choose to leave.

    Bo
    July 19, 2017 at 10:20 pm
    Reply

  2. True to the core tired of politicising everything… We can’t breath!

    KC
    July 20, 2017 at 6:20 am
    Reply

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