Former Chief of Staff, Mr.Kwadwo Mpiani, has blamed the sorry state of Ghana’s Civil Service on interference by politicians over the years .
He bemoaned that the service is no longer as effective as it used to be in the 1960s and 1970s, saying “compared to 1960s and 70s, the Civil Service as it is today or as it was in the not too distant past is in a sorry state”.
In his estimation, it is a “big no” to fault civil servants in this situation.
“The political neutrality in our civil service has been destroyed by us the politicians, and when I say politicians I mean both civil and military politicians. There have been too many dismissals in the service on a very wrong assumption of belonging to the other side” he stated.
Mr. Mpiani who served under the administration of John Kufuor was speaking on the topic ‘Executing the President’s Mandate; The Role of the Civil Service’ Media General’s Accra Dialogue organised in partnership with the Institute of Law and Public Affairs (ILPA) and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation (FESF).
Mr. Mpiani cited two instances, where some people were dismissed from the Volta River Authority, and Ghana Water Company on suspicions that they were politically aligned.
He also raised concerns about the quality of people, who are engaged in the public service now, comparing same to what existed in the past, where there was a dedicated institution for the training public servants.
“Some years back, one cannot just leave the university and enter the public service. Before doing that you have to attend GIMPA to understand the rudiments of how civil service works. This I believe is not there again.
“Don’t let us forget, GIMPA …was set up purposely to train civil servants; unfortunately it is not there anymore”, he said.
The dialogue was premised on recent agitations in the Civil Service where leadership of its association, CLOSAG, accused government of appointing Special Assistants in some ministries to take over their jobs, thus rendering them redundant.
But Mr. Mpaini says there is nothing wrong with government engaging the services of outsiders to help in executing its agenda as far as there is balance in those appointments.
He observed the problem is new and can best be handled if capping the number of appointees is considered.
His position on the matter clearly contradicts that of a governance expert who thinks Special Assistants have no place in Civil Service.
He maintained that governments all over the world engaged the services of people outside the civil service even though it is the service that is mandated to help government execute its agenda.