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Freezing of positions affects service delivery

THE freezing of nearly 4,000 positions in the Ministry of General Education is a sad state of affairs.
According to General Education Permanent Secretary Henry Tukombe, the Public Service Management Division (PSMD) has frozen 3,500 positions in the Ministry of General Education due to failure by supervisors to recommend people to fill up the positions.
Mr Tukombe attributed this failure to recommend those to fill up the positions to jealousy and delay.
We want to state that the failure by supervisors is unfortunate and can be said to be negligence of their duty.
Every supervisor is charged with responsibilities to ensure the smooth running of operations in their sections and failure to recommend someone to take over a position is appalling, to say the least.
Do such supervisors want the nation to believe that there were no capable officers they could recommend for the vacant positions? This is incredible.
Every supervisor worth their salt will see that positions in their sections do not remain vacant for a long time so that service delivery is not disrupted.
Mr Tukombe attributed this delay to jealousy and delay and we say it is lamentable that officers charged with such responsibility can allow personal feelings to get in the way of work and at the expense of the whole nation.
Jealousy is a cancer which should not be given a chance to overcome an individual. It will lead to no progress at all.
In James 3:16, the Bible warns that where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. This is what we are seeing in the failure by supervisors to recommend officers to take up the vacant positions.
Now it will take longer before the frozen positions are made available. This can indeed be a loss.
The supervisors should realise that they are part of a system which has committed itself to availing services like education to all those who are eligible. That is why the Ministry of Education is constructing schools and other institutions of learning all over the country.
But their failure to recommend officers to take up the vacant positions takes away from the gains that are being scored in the sector. With the setting up of new and more schools, the nation needs more staff in the sector to enhance Government’s drive towards attaining education for all.
And one of the ways to achieve such objectives is by placing staff in the right positions and confirming them so that they are motivated to work harder.
And so we want to applaud the directive by Secretary to the Cabinet Roland Msiska, who has said that all staff who have been acting in positions for more than six months be confirmed immediately.
The practice in the civil service is that an officer is in acting position for six months after which they will be confirmed. Making an officer act for a longer period demoralises them and affects their output.
Every capable officer deserves to be treated well because they are an asset to the well-being of an institution. The delivery of efficient service depends on having the right officers and a motivated workforce.
We want to urge Government to put in place a system where officers do not act in a position for a longer time and positions that fall vacant are immediately filled. This will increase efficiency in service delivery.