Editor's Comment

Political civil servants should count the cost

ONCE again, there is an order to all those who have applied to contest for political positions in the August 11 elections to leave public office and avoid compromising their duties.
This is a well-known regulation and President Lungu is only enforcing what is on paper in black and white.
A number of civil servants have had to leave the civil service to venture into political office.
The civil service and parastatal organisations offer a number of services to ordinary Zambians from all walks of life, including those in various political parties.
Those who formulated this law were interested in preserving the integrity and impartiality of the civil service so the civil servants are not biased in their duties.
In a statement issued by President Lungu’s special assistance for press, Amos Chanda yesterday, the President directed that civil servants and those in parastatal organisations who have applied to contest political office this year should leave their jobs.
The civil service employs men and women with vast experience and expertise in a myriad of professions and if they are engaged in political activities while they hold on to their jobs, there is a likelihood of not performing as expected, lowering the integrity of the civil service.
For example, if a supervising officer has his interest in a particular political party, he would most likely divide his subordinates whose political inclinations may not be the same as his.
Because civil servants are there to serve everyone, they are expected to do so impartially and when they uphold these virtues, it means we will have a professional civil service.
The civil service is the government machinery that also implements development programmes, and as professionals, men and women are expected to discharge their duties to the best of their abilities and without any compromise.
When one makes a choice, we believe they will weigh the consequences of their choice. Once someone decides to venture into political office, it should not be a matter of testing.
There is no provision for leave of absence for aspiring candidates, so to venture into politics, they have to leave their public service jobs.
The civil service machinery has to keep moving, with or without elections. So when there is a vacancy, it would be filled. This is why those who aspire for political office should count the cost. They cannot have it both ways.
Let us leave politics out of the civil service so that the men and women offer the best service to the nation.
Government wants to see a ticking civil service that delivers to the public.
We also hope there will not be a flood of civil servants trekking to the political arena because although it is their right to venture into politics, the civil service thrives on career civil servants.

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