The Office of President and Cabinet (OPC) intends to recruit public relations officers (PROs) for ministers and deputy ministers.
This is a departure from a tradition whereby PROs are appointed to serve the ministry and not a minister.
But in a memo dated October 21, 2020 signed by Secretary for the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) ZangaZanga Chikhosi, he states that in the new arrangement, all ministers will have personal-to-holder PROs who will only serve as long as the minister is in Cabinet.
The OPC has since asked ministers to choose a person to fill this position.
Reads the communication: “I have the honour to inform you Honourable Minister that government has approved that your office should be provided with a public relations officer [PRO Grade I]. The provision of PROs will be part of the terms and conditions applicable to ministers and deputy ministers.
“Please note that the PROs will be engaged on contract terms of employment in line with the tenure of the minister or deputy minister’s office.”
Department of Human Resource Management and Development, which is copied in the communication, has been asked to prepare contracts for these new officers. The PRO will assume a grade lower than the ministers’ personal assistants who are on Grade G.
But speaking on condition of anonymity, an OPC official feared that the new appointments will simply be a duplication of efforts.
When contacted, Chikhosi did not pick our calls and is yet to respond to our questionnaire sent to him yesterday.
Asked to justify this new arrangement, Minister of Information Gospel Kazako, who is also government spokesperson, promised to come back to us by Wednesday but did not do so even after a reminder.