Partisan politics must be a no-go area for Civil and Local Government officers – Panel

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The discussants at the Colloquium on implication of the Supreme Court ruling on political neutrality in the Civil and Local Government Service (CLGS) organized by the Civil and Local Government Staff Association have reminded their staff to stay away from partisan politics and focus on their work.

The panel consist of the Head of Civil Service, Nana Agyekum Dwamena, Head of The Local Service, ING. Dr. Nana Ato Arthur, former Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur, former Chief Director at the Ministry of Communication and Chairperson of the Ghana Public Services Commission, Bridget Katsriku, believe that, given the interpretation of the Supreme Court ruling (Writ Number 11/16/2016 of June, 2017), partisan politics should be a no-go area for Civil and Local Government officers.

The Team called on the Staff to exhibit professionalism at all times irrespective of the Political Party that forms the Government.

Meanwhile, some of the participants (Staff) are of the views that, politicians must also be professional and stop the alleged manipulation and intimidation tactics for them to work as a team for the good of the country.

In her opening remarks, Bridget Katsriku, said “in recent years we have witnessed a significant departure from the Civil and Logal Government Services’ values including the values of transparency, objectivity, accountability, professionalism, political neutrality, etc. This is gradually eroding the stature and the character of the Services”,…stressing the fact that, “2001 to date the political neutrality of the Civil Servant and the Local Government Servant has been seriously compromised”, she attributed this development to the following factors have the recruitment process, lack of Trust by Politicians and the attraction of Civil and Local Government Staff to political activism.

According to her, “remaining politically neutral does not only help the staff to master the expertise skills and knowledge and to have the confidence to give expert advice to politicians and fearless of telling truth to power. It also promotes the retention of key staff with a store of organizational memory to assist incoming Government build on the achievements of previous Governments by benchmarking and appreciating existing challenges and strategies for better policy decision making and implementation.”

In his welcome address, the Executive Secretary of the Civil and Local Government Staff Association, Ghana (CLOGSAG) said the Association has initiated the NEUTRALITY PROJECT in an attempt to educate their members about the need for them to carry out their duties in the public services without any political colourization, adding that, “the exclusion of Civil and Local Government Staff from overtly participating in partisan politics has been a worry to many.  When their exclusion was extended to district assembly elections, the uproar about discrimination and appeal to the association to fight for fairness was sustained.”

The Minister for Employment and Labour Relations (MELR Ignatius Baffour Awuah, lauded the efforts by the CLOGSAG as very crucial as many of their men women as still do not understand the ruling.

“I deem the discussions on the Principles of Neutrality as very crucial in dealing with future conflicts between the managers of the Civil and Local Government Services on one hand, and the Labour Unions in these Services, on the other hand.

I can now breathe with a sigh of relief that he interpretation of the neutrality expected of staff of Civil and Local Government Services which was simmering and could have disturbed the industrial peace, has now been settled by the Supreme Court Ruling”.

As partners in development, the action taken by CLOGSAG, to seek the true and proper interpretation of Articles in the Constitution on neutrality of workers in the Civil and Local Government Services is highly commendable, He saluted CLOGSAG.

The Minister for Employment and Labour Relations in conclusion reiterated that…”the freedoms granted to individuals under the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana are not absolute , in that, there are limitations which ought to be noted at all times.”

Source: Francis Edzorna Mensah

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