The debt of the Zambian Mission in London is reflective of a dysfunctional administrative system in our country. It is a problem the PF government inherited but possesses neither the will nor the capacity to change the situation. High levels of debt and maladministration have become characteristic of all government agencies in and outside the country and the London Mission is not an exception.
In the absence of strict fiscal discipline, budgets and their execution have become a mere ritual with no resemblance to the actual running of government. Those entrusted to run our Missions abroad have at times received less than a third of what they need to effectively represent this country. It is a situation that makes the efficient and effective management of the Missions impossible.
The accumulation of high levels of debt is, therefore, to a larger extent due to the ever growing gap between Mission requirements and low levels of funding timely availed. Given this situation, there is urgent need to streamline the operations of these Missions in line with available resources. We cannot go on with the current structures and numbers of Missions if we are not able to adequately fund them. If the EU countries on whom we depend for development aid are cutting on embassy staff and closing some of their embassies here in Zambia, who are we not to do that?
However, it is also apparent that part of the problem our Missions abroad are facing has to do with sheer inefficiency that has crept in over the past years. Our diplomatic Missions have become places for political patronage, where political cadres are posted as remuneration for supporting a political party in power. This is done regardless of qualification and suitability. We have literally buried all elements of meritocracy and carrier professional diplomatic services! Do you expect any professionalism from the party cadres posted in these Missions? The answer is NO!
We will therefore have to reckon with lawsuits, like those being threatened in London, as well as other embarrassments for sometime to come. Diplomatic Missions abroad are reflective of the state of the country itself; the Zambian brand reflected through our Missions is a miserable one!