Kaunda Names Reduced Cabinet for His Sixth Term
Nov. 02, 1988
LUSAKA, Zambia (AP) _ President Kenneth Kaunda, re-elected to his sixth term last week, on Wednesday announced a smaller Cabinet and promised sweeping economic reforms.
Kaunda, 64, who led the British colony of Northern Rhodesia to independence as the nation of Zambia on Oct. 24, 1964, reduced the previous 22-member Cabinet to 16.
The president, holding his first news conference since being installed as head of state on Monday, dubbed it a ''budget-cutting Cabinet.''
While the move met Western donors' demands for cuts in state spending in return for aid to help his ailing economy, Kaunda also named 22 ministers of state to assist the Cabinet. Cabinet ministers who were dropped from the previous government won posts as ministers of state.
Zambia is burdened by record unemployment, galloping inflation and a foreign debt of $4 billion that drains 40 percent of export income. Most of those earnings have come from exports of copper.
Among the state ministers were his son, Wezi, who has been mentioned as a possible successor.
Kawnda said the new Cabinet's main task would be to carry out economic reforms now that he is armed with a mandate from the 2.6 million voters in his land of 7 million people.
Kaunda last year abandoned an International Monetary Fund-prescribed recovery program after 15 people were killed in rioting over a doubling of food prices. That move held down prices, but most Western aid donors withdrew all aid until he accepted harsher measures to straighten out the economy.
He said he hoped the IMF would resume relations with his country once the economy was restructured.
Kaunda also announced that the country's international and domestic airports would be privatized. Party insiders said they expect further privatization of state corporations that cost the government tens of millions of dollars in subsidies every year.