Lumumba appointment controversial, divisive

HARARE - The furore surrounding Acie Lumumba’s out-of-the-blue appointment as head of the newly-created Finance ministry communications committee is not only disappointing but also shows, rather painfully, that our Cabinet ministers are not reading from the same script. If it is indeed true that Finance minister Mthuli Ncube unilaterally appointed Lumumba without consulting the Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services ministry, which is mandated to communicate government policy to the public, then dark days are lurking ahead of us.

For once, Energy Mutodi, who is the deputy Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services minister is right. The appointment of Lumumba by Mthuli, flies in the face of the Finance minister’s plans to downsize the government’s workforce.

Since his appointment to head the Finance ministry, Mthuli has consistently emphasised the urgent need to reduce the civil service which is gobbling around 86 percent of government expenditure. It is therefore surprising that he has made this very strange appointment.

It is very difficult to understand why Mthuli has found it fit to make this superfluous appointment when the Information ministry is full of communications officials who were appointed to precisely do what Lumumba has been employed to do.

Is this appointment, which seems to imply that Mthuli doesn’t believe the existing government communications apparatus is adequate to effectively inform the public about the activities of his ministry, entirely the Finance minister’s?

Given the way the hiring of Lumumba goes against Muthuli’s message of downsizing the civil service, one can be forgiven for suspecting that the new Finance ministry communications committee chairperson was imposed on him by some politicians. If that is indeed what happened, then our fear is that Mthuli could be increasingly losing his independence. The choice of such a divisive character as Lumumba to drive the communication process in the very critical Finance ministry is also very problematic.

The nation has not forgotten that Lumumba, who for some unexplained reason doesn’t want use his real name — William Gerald Mutumanje — was fired as the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Youth Empowerment Strategy for Investment steering committee amid allegations that he misappropriated funds meant for the Zimbabwe Youth Council.

Additionally, a few years ago Lumumba and popular DJ Tichafa “Tich Mataz” Matambanadzo were fired by Star FM over fraud allegations. The two fraud cases involving Lumumba remain unresolved to this day. How then did Mthuli hire such a shady character? Did he do due diligence?

A simple Google search could have given him sufficient warning to stay clear of such a controversial and divisive appointment.

Comments (1)

All dodgy characters.

jake - 24 October 2018

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