Zambia’s President re-appoints an official who was sacked by his predecessor

President Hakainde Hichilema reappoints an official whose sacking last year sparked outrage

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Hakainde Hichilema – Zambia’s President

Zambia’s Presidency on Monday said that newly-elected President, Hakainde Hichilema, had reappointed the country’s former Central Bank Governor, who was controversially sacked last August by his predecessor, Edgar Lungu. Denny Kalyalya was last year removed from the position and no reason given. He was then replaced with Christopher Mvunga, a former deputy finance minister, who served in the Zambian government from 2015 to 2020, and was previously a director at Standard Chartered.

Denny Kalyalya

Kalyalya’s dismissal was widely criticized, including by the then South African finance minister Tito Mboweni, who publicly demanded an explanation for the sacking, resulting in a diplomatic incident.

“Presidents in Africa must stop this nonsense of waking up in the morning and fire a Central Bank Governor! You cannot do that. This is not some fiefdoms of yours!” tweeted Mboweni then.

He added:  “The President of Zambia must give us the reasons why he dismissed the Governor or else hell is on its way. I will mobilize!”

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa would later intervene over the remarks that had been made by his finance minister, stating that he had “strongly reprimanded” him, and that the “unfortunate remarks” did not reflect his government’s position. Kalyalya’s removal also led the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to call for the bank’s “independence and credibility” to be maintained.

Kalyalya has been restored to his former job 13 months after his shock dismissal hit the nation. According to the presidency, his reappointment is effective immediately and subject to lawmakers’ approval. Also a former World Bank Group director, he resumes his role at the Central Bank with the country’s inflation near the highest level in two decades. The announcement of his reappointment comes as Zambia this week resumes negotiating a bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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