Local Gov't Service justifies interdiction of staff who engaged in party politics

Local Gov't Service justifies interdiction of staff who engaged in party politics
Source: Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | Jerry Tsatro Mordy
Date: 12-09-2019 Time: 10:09:01:am
Head of the Local Government Service, Dr. Nana Ato Arthur, says the Service is guided by laws, which must be adhered to by all staff.

The Local Government Service has justified its decision to suspend three of its staff engaged in active party politics pending further investigations by the Council.

According to Head of the Service, Dr. Nana Ato Arthur, the Service is guided by laws, which must be adhered to by all staff.

Two members of staff of the LGS are facing disciplinary actions following their participation in the recent parliamentary primaries held by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC). A third person who is also contesting in the primaries of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), is facing similar sanction.

They are Alhaji Maazu Abubakar, Pru West constituency; Alexander Hedidor, Suaman constituency, Roland Nsoh-Billa Abire and Bolgatanga East constituency.  

But addressing journalists on Wednesday at Peduase in the Eastern Region, Nana Ato Arthur said the decision to interdict the officers pending the Council’s verdict, is premised on Article 284 of the 1992 Constitution.

“Article 284 of the Constitution provides that ‘A public officer shall not put himself/herself in a position where his personal interest conflicts or is likely to conflict with the performance of the functions of his office.’

“Since the exercise of the Constitutional right of a public officer is likely to conflict with the performance of functions as a public officer, once the officer decides to engage in active party-politics, and takes the proximate step, the officer cannot be denied. However, the integrity of the public service shall not be compromised,” he insisted.

Nana Ato Dadzie Local Government Service

Read the full presentation below:

 

SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE HEAD OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT SERVICE - ING DR NANA ATO ARTHUR AT PRESS CONFERENCE HELD ON SEPTEMEBER 11, 2019 AT THE PEDUASE VALLEY RESORT

• Heads of Departments and Units and Staff of the Office of the Head of the Local Government Service

• The President of the Ghana Journalist Association

• Distinguished men and women of the media

Good afternoon.


The media has contributed immensely to the development of good governance systems all over the world for which reason, it has been named the fourth estate to the realm; and I am pleased to say that the media in Ghana has been equal to the task.

It is important to mention that the media has in recent times contributed to unearthing corrupt practices and curbing indiscipline in the nation. These are few of the immense contribution of the media in shaping governance and development outcomes of our nation.

Having lauded your contribution to the course of local and national development, let me also use the opportunity to bring to your attention; and to set the records straight with regards to two important issues that have gained wide circulation in the media lately although I have had the opportunity to provide explanations to some media houses on those issues.

1. Recruitment Scam

Ladies and Gentlemen

The attention of the Office of the Head of the Local Government Service was drawn to a publication being circulated on social media and other online portals including jobwebghana.com that "the Local Government Service (LGS) is inviting applications from suitably qualified Ghanaians to fill vacant positions in the Service in some specified Regions".

Although the Service was swift to issue a disclaimer and urged the general public to disregard the said advert making rounds on social media, job seekers continuously flock our office premises to submit applications. What is even more interesting is the fact these job seekers inundate my officers with calls.

It is also important to mention as contained in the press release from the Service dated August 14, 2019, that the source of the advert was an online portal - jobwebghana.com, though others also displayed the information later. This is however not surprising as online portals of this nature put such stories as clickbaits for marketing purposes.

Some people have also sought to know why the application forms are still being sold when the Local Government Service is not recruiting. The answer is simple, first the application forms (PSC Form 2) is meant for entry into all the Public Services in Ghana and not solely for entry into the Local Government Service. Again, the forms are not sold by the Local Government Service but rather Ghana Publishing Corporation (Assembly Press) which is the mandated agency to print and sell these forms. What that means is that as long as you visit Assembly Press to purchase PSC Form 2, it will be sold to you.

The Service has just completed a process it begun in February 2019 to engage two thousand two hundred and ninety (2,290) additional staff. The call for applications was advertised in both the print and electronic media and we wish to assure the general public that when such opportunities turn up in future, due process and procedures will be followed and the general public will be informed through the appropriate channels.

Our dear friends of the media

We, therefore, call on you to collaborate with the Service in communicating this very important information to the general public through your various platforms.

2. Interdiction of staff Ladies and Gentlemen

The Local Government Service acts in accordance with legislations guiding the conduct of public service; and in conformity to rules, procedures and precedents set out by Public Services Commission to ensure that public service administration in the country measures up to international best practices.

Canon (1) of the Local Government Service Code of Conduct on 'the Principle of Anonymity and Permanence’ states that "Officers and staff of the Local Government Service shall serve the State with neutrality and anonymity in the national and local governance processes".

Early this month, interdiction letters were issued to three (3) staff of the Local Government Service who overtly engaged in partisan politics. Two of the three contested the primaries for the position of Parliamentary candidate on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the other is about to do so on the ticket of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Ladies and Gentlemen

In the interest of democratic governance, as envisaged by Clause 3 of Article 21 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, it must be made quite clear to public officers that, a public officer could, if the officer so wishes, join political activities.

However, Article 284 of the same Constitution provides that "A public officer shall not put himself/herself in a position where his personal interest conflicts or is likely to conflict with the performance of the functions of his office". Since the exercise of the Constitutional right of a public officer is likely to conflict with the performance of functions as a public officer, once the officer decides to engage in active party-politics, and takes the proximate step, the officer cannot be denied. However, the integrity of the public service shall not be compromised.

Consequently, a public officer who intends to take part in active political activities, whether directly or indirectly, should first resign from the public service before taking proximate step towards the realisation of the ambition to be a member of parliament or engage in open party politics.

Again, in 2016 there was Supreme Court Judgement involving the Attorney General and Two Others (the Heads of the Civil & Local Government Services) on the involvement of Civil and Local Government Officers in the active politics.

The court ruled that:

  1. On a true and proper interpretation of the constitution, a member of the Civil Service or Local Government Service has a right to join any political party of his or her choice, however, such a person does not have the right to participate overtly in political party activities whilst still a member of the Civil Service or Local Government Service
  2. On a true and proper interpretation of the Constitution, a member of the Civil Service and Local Government Service does not have a right to contest for elections for political party office or hold political party office whilst still a member of the Civil Service or Local Government Service.

Conclusion

Ladies and Gentlemen

I must say that the management of the Local Government Service only interdicted the said officers pending investigation for decision by the Council. The Service is guided by laws, which must be adhered to by all staff. I have no doubt that tomorrow you will use platforms to carry this vital information to the general public.

Thank you for your attention.