Strange and Stale Appointment At ZDA [opinion]

Former UPND Vice-President and 2006 losing Parliamentary candidate for Nkana, Mr. Patrick Chisanga has, after a long hiatus from public life, suddenly reincarnated as the new CEO for the Zambia Development Agency. This is my personal opinion, but I ask: Has Zambia run out of people to appoint as CEOs of strategic institutions? How do you justify bringing a failed politician, without any traceable investment promotion experience, a man of aanced age, to govern a key institution such as ZDA? What is the value addition of this new appointment?

I would have expected that a man of his purported calibre and ‘vast’ experience in Corporate Governance, aanced in age, would have established for himself an empire that offers guidance to governments in matters of governance, and not be flashing his CV for a job that is best suited for his sondaughter’s agility and age. But then, let one not be too harsh, he must have hit hard times and needs to survive and perhaps supplement his corporate governance incomes. He has indeed done well for himself: From failed politician to CEO. I am wondering how many failed MPs from the opposition parties would have such luck as Patrick Chisanga. But ofcourse isn’t it obvious that Mr. ‘Chisanga’ has an automatic qualification?

On the part of the ZDA, however, as was the argument we put forth earlier in the year regarding the ZANANCO centre manager who was proposed to be Deputy Governor of the Bank of Zambia (Thank God the error was reversed by the listening government!), I have one question: Are you saying that no one within ZDA had the in-house experience and institutional know-how to take over from Andrew Chipwende? The mid-level professional staff is the backbone of any effective organisation such as ZDA. For this reason, one would have expected that ZDA will prioritise people in-house before considering failed politicians to be its head. ZDA, like any other institution needs to pay more attention to the professional staff from within and avoid the practice of large scale outside entry at senior levels. This will both strengthen the input of institutional memory in high level decisions and to assure a career prospect to the professional ZDA staff. In any case, bringing retired people with no past immediate working experience in investment promotion is just a sham and adds no value to the institution.

With a pool of well qualified and dedicated economists and investment managers at ZDA, outside sourcing of skills which are already in-house demoralises the career staff and reduces the promise of career progression and skill development in the long run.

What is needed at ZDA is a competent investment manager with appropriate experience in investment promotion and policymaking. We can only speculate whether the new CEO has such experience noting that his previous experience was seeking an election as an MP and retired from active politics after losing.

And finally, what then is the promise to the agile and ambitious youths of the nation when opportunities that clearly should be for them are being rationed for the old and retired guns of the nation that have hit hard times? Strange tides we are on.

PS: Hon. Robert Sichinga, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry and Patrick Chisanga were both high ranking officials in the UPND. Is it a coincidence therefore that Patrick Chisanga will be reporting directly to Robert Sichinga as ZDA CEO? How fair was the recruitment process? Is patronage at work?

Source : Zambia Reports

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