Davies Mwila - Third in Command?

An audio is circulating online in which PF Secretary General Davies Mwila claims government ministers are below him and boasts that he can summon them to account for decisions he disagrees with. Calling in to a Hot FM show on Tuesday morning, Mwila claimed to be third in command after the President and the Vice-President.

“Yes, all of them except the Vice-President and the President. The Secretary General is the most powerful man in the party. People must understand that all the ministers, Cabinet Ministers, provincial ministers, the mayors, council chairmen, they are below me. So whatever they are doing they should understand that we are there, we are monitoring what they are doing. If they make a mistake, I will summon a Cabinet Minister and he must explain why he is doing the wrong thing”, Mwila told the hosts

Minister of Information and Broadcasting Dora Siliya has reportedly supported Mwila’s statement on the basis that he is responsible for ensuring the implementation of the party’s manifesto. However, others have objected to the clear blurring of the lines between party and state as once elected officials are accountable to the people first and foremost, and should not therefore be subject to intimidation by any political party.

Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) President Rueben Lifuka has described Mwila as being ill qualified to supervise ministers, stating: “We want to urge Mr Davies Mwila and the ruling party to desist the temptation of taking this country back to the inglorious days of the Party and its Government. Unless, things have changed, we know that Mr Mwila does not have the privilege of sitting in cabinet meetings where key decisions are made and he may therefore be ill qualified to supervise Ministers. Similarly, Mr. Mwila does not serve in any of the Councils and may not be privy to the decision making of the councils, and it is a bit presumptuous for him to assume functions and responsibilities of summoning Mayors and Deputy Mayors for the work that they are doing. Let us assume that the basis of this decision is because PF sponsored the candidature of the Mayor or Deputy Mayor and hence has authority to summon them whenever necessary, is Mr Mwila saying it will be perfectly in order for the UPND or MMD where they control the council, to summon and supervise the Mayors or Chairpersons who are their members?” 

Regarding the interference of parties in the operations of local government Lifuka added: “And is it any wonder that party cadres have taken up the cue and feel duty bound to order around public servants and basically interfere in the operations of government? Let us also assume that the people who were unfortunately affected by the demolition of their stands and confiscation of goods by Lusaka City Council were known cadres from an opposition political party, would Mr Mwila have felt the same urge to summon the Deputy Mayor to his office? Need we remind Mr Mwila that sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander.”

Open Zambia