Zambian president fires central bank governor in surprise move

Zambian president

Zambian President Edgar Lungu on Saturday summarily dismissed central bank governor Denny Kalyalya and replaced him with former deputy finance minister Christopher Mphanza Mvunga, a statement from State House said.

“President Lungu has terminated the contract of Bank of Zambia governor Dr Denny Kalyalya with immediate effect,” said the statement, which did not provide reasons for the dismissal.

Kalyalya, who previously served as a World Bank executive director, was appointed in February 2015 and had his contract extended in 2018 until 2023.

His dismissal comes barely three days after the central bank cut its benchmark lending rate by 125 basis points to 8.0% to try to safeguard financial sector stability and protect livelihoods in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The appointment of Mvunga, who was serving as deputy secretary to the cabinet in the finance and economic development unit, is subject to ratification by parliament, the president’s statement added.

Mvunga, seen by political analysts as an ally and close friend of the president, worked previously as a senior auditor at Deloitte & Touche between 1988 and 1993 before joining the banking sector.

He worked at Standard Chartered bank until 2015, when he was nominated as a member of parliament and appointed for a brief stint as deputy finance minister until 2016.

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