Finance Minister Tito Mboweni must be fired if necessary, says COSATU.

COSATU has lambasted Finance Minister Tito Mboweni over his controversial comments about the removal of Zambia’s central governor by President Edgar Lungu.

This comes a day after the Presidency stated on Monday that President Cyril Ramaphosa was not pleased with Mboweni’s comments, and that they do not reflect views of the government and its citizens.

“He’s taken his unacceptable behaviour beyond South African borders,” COSATU spokesperson Sizwe Pamala told EWN on Tuesday.  

“This is something that is not acceptable. We hope President Cyril Ramaphosa will show that the center is still holding by putting him in his place and swing the big axe if necessary. This behaviour was nothing new. Tito Mboweni is a liability.”

Mboweni sent out a series of controversial Zambia tweets on Saturday in which he stated his intentions to mobilise support for Denny Kalyalya, whom he described as a good man.

Kalyaya’s removal was announced on Saturday by the Zambian government.

Kalyalya was dismissed because of the poor disbursement of funds meant to stimulate the country’s struggling economy, according to a statement by the ruling Patriotic Front party, the local Lusaka Times news site reports.

But the Reuters news agency reported that Kalyalya’s dismissal came barely three days after Zambia’s central bank cut its benchmark lending rate by 125 basis points to 8% to try to safeguard the financial sector’s stability and protect livelihoods in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kalyalya, a respected former World Bank executive director, was appointed in 2015 and his tenure was due to end in 2023.

The main opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema has called his sacking “another sad development” in Zambia’s history.

“That governor was a good fella. Why do we do these things as Africans. The president of Zambia must give us the reasons why he dismissed the governor or else hell is on his way. I will mobilise!!” Mboweni tweeted.

He later tweeted: “Looks like I am in trouble about my statement on the dismissal of the bank of Zambia governor. I stand by my statement. Central bank independence is key. Not negotiable. Let all central bankers speak out.”

“This is not some fiefdoms of yours! Your personal property?! No!,” he said in another tweet, castigating President Lungu.

The Presidency said that South Africa had a long and strong relationship with Zambia.

“President Ramaphosa wishes to assure the government and people of the Republic of Zambia that the unfortunate remarks do not reflect the views of the South African government and its people. The issue is being addressed to ensure that such an incident does not occur again.”

“South Africa and Zambia enjoy strong historical relations dating back to the days of the struggle against apartheid. South Africa remains committed to maintaining the deep and solid bonds of friendship between the peoples of South Africa and Zambia,” the presidency said.

(COMPILED BY INSIDE POLITICS STAFF)

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