A Familiar Rhetoric: Former Minister Patel’s Critique of Jito Kayumba

Estimated read time 5 min read

“One Zambia, one nation” is the creed and motto that has driven Zambia and kept Zambians united even in difficult times. While we celebrate the “one Zambia, one nation” mantra, others take it upon themselves to insult and vilify others.

Dipak Patel is entitled to his opinion, even though his opinion has a history of being wrong.

Dipak Patel might be remembered as the former Minister of Information and later Industry and Commerce. Yet, he is still the man who insulted former President Levy Mwanawasa, calling him a cabbage in a news publication that got Fred M’membe into trouble. Mr. Patel later took back his words and apologized at the death of former President Mwanawasa.

Mr. Patel is back at it again with his opinion. This time he has launched a veiled attack on Jito Kayumba.

Recently, former Zambian Minister of Information, Dipak Patel, expressed his concerns about self-promotion among presidential staff and its impact on team dynamics, transparency, and accountability. This opinion piece, published by Diggers Newspaper, was targeted at Jito Kayumba. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, it is crucial to critically analyze Patel’s arguments to ensure that they do not demoralize talented individuals or undermine the achievements of dedicated presidential staff.

Patel launched a veiled attack on President HH’s Assistant for Economic Affairs and Investment. I present a brief rebuttal of Mr. Patel’s points.

1. Nurturing a Cohesive Team

Patel suggests that self-promotion within a presidential team undermines team dynamics. However, it is important to recognize that highlighting individual accomplishments does not necessarily diminish the collective efforts of the team. Recognizing outstanding contributions can motivate others to excel and has the potential to foster healthy competition within the team. This can actually strengthen the team’s overall performance. Above all, Jito Kayumba did not invite publicity; it is the media and the public who identify with him, follow him, and write about him. His story is inspirational, his work with young people is noteworthy, and his achievements are commendable.

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2. Transparency and Accountability

Accountability should indeed be a hallmark of any successful administration. Patel argues that self-promotion jeopardizes transparency and accountability. However, it is crucial to acknowledge that acknowledgment of individual achievements does not negate the importance of collective decision-making. Recognizing exceptional performance can motivate others and promote a healthy work culture that encourages going above and beyond expectations. Jito Kayumba has pushed for the Zangena project, which has empowered hundreds of mobile money agents, creating employment and a source of income for hundreds. Publicizing the project and its beneficiaries is a mark of transparency for all to see and follow up the work being done by the HH administration.

3. Shared Responsibilities

Patel’s critique suggests that self-promotion creates distorted perceptions of individual success, overshadowing the collaborative efforts of the entire administration. While it is essential to acknowledge collective achievements, highlighting exceptional individual performance can serve as an inspiration to others. This recognition can foster a positive work environment, motivating individuals to increase their productivity and contribute their best to the team.

4. Ethical Considerations

The ethical concerns raised by Patel regarding self-promotion deserve attention. However, it is important to differentiate between genuine recognition of individual accomplishments and self-aggrandizement. Public officeholders should prioritize the interests of the presidency while avoiding actions that cultivate an inflated ego. Indeed, it is crucial to maintain a clear line between personal promotion and serving the greater good. Jito Kayumba, in all his public appearances, does not seek any personal glory but points the glory to the leadership and vision of his principal and appointing authority, President HH.

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While Dipak Patel’s opinion raises valid concerns, it is essential to avoid painting all instances of individual recognition as detrimental to team dynamics and the principles of transparency and accountability. Appreciating individual success in a team context can boost the morale of talented staff members and contribute positively to their future performance. It is crucial to embrace a balanced perspective that acknowledges exceptional individual contributions while highlighting the collaborative efforts of the entire team. Patel might be trying to sow seeds of division in the Presidency, and this would be mischievous if not dangerous. The office of the President has enjoyed a healthy work environment that has further strengthened the overall effectiveness of the presidential administration. We live in an age of social media, and people will take selfies with any member of the administration, and they will write as they please. Jito is very visible on the ground, implying that the office of the President is visible. The office of the President is visible in Kasama, in remote areas, visible among the mobile money agents, visible among young people, and that is a first in the history of Zambia. President HH was right on the mark appointing Jito. The fruits of his work are there for all to see, and some might be feeling some type of way, but they have to be strong because HH, Jito, and UPND are here to stay.

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