Pac demands principal diplomats’ names


The Public Accounts Committee (Pac) of Parliament has expressed concern over Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials’ failure to present before the committee names of principal diplomats appointed to serve in foreign missions despite the law calling for such scrutiny.

Pac Chairperson Joyce Chitsulo said, from 2018, the ministry has not provided names of consuls, deputy ambassadors and other principal diplomats, as stipulated in Section 190 of the Republican Constitution, to the committee.

The section in question reads: ““The appointment of diplomatic staff, ambassadors, high commissioners and such other principal diplomatic staff as shall be determined by an Act of Parliament shall be appointed by the President, subject to confirmation by the Public Appointments Committee which may require persons so appointed to answer questions as to their competence and financial probity.”


On Tuesday, committee members took to task Secretary for Foreign Affairs Bernard Sande and other officials on the sudden change of the protocol

“If you look at the record up to 2018, these people were coming through Pac but it stopped. So, we wanted to learn from the ministry [about] what led to that and if it’s within the law,” she said.

Chitsulo further said it was proper to follow up on the matter to ensure that the law is followed to avoid a situation where “incompetent people” can be representing the country


“Without proper scrutiny, we may send wrong people and that’s why you would find that some people are not really performing as expected. That’s why you would find an ambassador keeping staff without contracts,” she said.

Committee members further asked Sande to furnish them with the performance appraisal system for the committee to appreciate how the diplomats have performed since they were appointed.

Sande could not provide convincing responses to the committee on the change of the law and the committee has since asked ministry officials to report back to it by Wednesday next week.

The country has 23 diplomatic missions, with 20 embassies and three consulates.

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