South African president reprimands finance minister for interfering in Zambia’s internal affairs

Cyril Ramaphosa
Cyril Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa has “strongly reprimanded” Finance Minister Tito Mboweni for criticising the removal of Zambia’s Central Bank Governor Denny Kalyalya, the Presidency said on Monday.

The issue is being addressed to ensure that it does not occur again, presidential spokesperson Tyrone Seale said.

Following Kalyalya’s removal by Zambian President Edgar Lungu on Saturday, Mboweni criticized the move on social media and threatened to “mobilize” if not given reasons why Kalyalya had been fired, saying “hell was on its way.”

“Presidents in Africa must stop this nonsense of waking up in the morning and fire a central bank governor! You cannot do that. This is not some fiefdoms of yours! Your personal property?! No!” Mboweni tweeted.

His comments drew ire from the Zambian government. Zambian Information Minister Dora Siliya said they were surprised with Mboweni’s criticism of a sovereign decision by Zambia.

Siliya said the Zambian government will pursue the matter diplomatically.

The South African government distanced itself from Mboweni’s remarks.

“President Ramaphosa wishes to assure the government and people of the Republic of Zambia that the unfortunate remarks do not reflect the views of the South African government and its people,” Seale said in a statement.

South Africa and Zambia enjoy strong historical relations dating back to the days of the struggle against apartheid, he said.

South Africa, Seale said, remains committed to maintaining the deep and solid bonds of friendship with the people of Zambia.

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