A critical analysis of the appointment of Cabinet Ministers from among members of the National Assembly in the Zambian presidential system

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Kawila, Lushinga Eliazer
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Since independence in 1964, Zambia has embraced a Constitution that gives the power to the Republican President to appoint Cabinet Ministers from among Members of the National Assembly in a presidential system. The Constitution has not fixed the number of Cabinet Ministers to be appointed, allows the President to create and abolish the positions of Cabinet Ministers on his/her discretion. The Zambian model appears to be a mix of the British System and the United States System. This idea of appointing Cabinet Ministers from among Members of the National Assembly in the Zambian Presidential System has met two opposing views. On one hand, there are those that support the model, on the basis that the presence of the Executive in the National Assembly creates room in which the Executive can guide the House to pass laws that will facilitate the ruling party in implementing its desired developmental policies. While on the other Hand, the other group sees this system as a compromise and weaken the doctrine of separation of powers which is currently considered as an important ingredient of democracy. This later group further sees this model as a tool in which the State robs the electorate their representative, who no longer works and consult his/her electorate as he/she is usually busy doing State functions at the expense of the electorate. It is important to note that, it is not just where the Cabinet Ministers are drawn which is an issue of concern only, but other factors too covering the degree of power given to the appointing authority in terms of discretion given to them by the Constitution, and the luck of specification of qualifications for one to hold the office of Cabinet Minister. One would argue that both systems, the British and the United States have their own advantages and disadvantages when implemented in an environment like Zambia where there is a high level of poverty and illiteracy among the citizens. These factors impact negatively on democracy and on the operation of the Cabinet drawn from among Members of the National Assembly in the Zambian Presidential System,
Cabinet Officers-Zambia , Cabinet System-Zambia