WE welcome the directive by Secretary to the Cabinet Dr Simon Miti to compel the resignation of civil servants from the public ser-vice by November 30, 2020.
We also endorse the guidance by PF Secretary General Davies Mwila that the party will not entertain civil servants, employees of Gov-ernment agents and employees of parastatals who will tender in eleventh hour resignations contrary to the directive given by the head of the civil service.
We have studied the Constitution and the relevant legislations. From that end, our preliminary thought is that the ambiguous nature of the Constitution is what to some extent made the critics of the government question the accuracy of the guidance.
We do not doubt the legal weight of the circulars in the interpretation of the Constitution and the law. For the ardent readers of the law, they are well informed that in the cases of Stephen Luguru v. Attorney General (1999) and Wynter Kabimba v. Lusaka City Council and Another (1997), our own Courts attached legal weights to circulars in arriving at their decisions.
We also feel that the guidance as per Dr Miti’s circular is well grounded because the Constitution gives no time limit and in arriving at the directive many public policy considerations and it has to be balanced with the ambitions of the individuals seeking public office.
However, we will not pursue this argument any further as we do not want to ignite any speculative debate on this subject let alone when we decide to take the matter to the Constitutional Court for authoritative interpretation.
As regards the directive, we do not fault the Secretary to the Cabinet or the proponents of his directive and as that is one of the ways of bringing about stability in the civil service in facilitating the transition after the much anticipated elections.
If civil servants were given until May, 2021, we would foresee a situation where the affairs of the government would grind to a halt. Re-member the circular also apply to the persons deployed in the Foreign Service, employees of the quasi-Government departments. Resigna-tions are therefore a better way of guaranteeing stability and an orderly transition.
Assuming the Boards of directors for parastatals massively tendered their resignation in May, 2021, how will the vacancies be filled?
We say so in light of the new Constitutional order which require the technical dissolution of Cabinet upon the dissolution of Parliament. After May, 2021, there will be no Cabinet to approve the appointment of the Board of directors for the parastatals.
We therefore feel that if resignations are tendered now, there is enough room for cabinet to find suitable replacements.
To stress a point further, if civil servants and employees of parastatals had until the last day to submit their resignations, it is a fact that of-ficers with political ambitions will compromise the quality of public service delivery.
We are likely to have civil servants and employees of the parastatals frustrating the implementation of Government programmes to promote their political ambitions.
Further, top Government officials have certain privileges which can be abused to pursue their political ends. This is likely to create an une-ven political playing field as they will have an unfair advantage over other political competitors. It is prudent that Government resources are not abused to further personal ambitions.
We therefore wish to support the decision which has made as it at looked at the greater benefit of the society. The Constitution maybe silent on the timeframe but this must be looked at with other interlinked issues.
MARVIN CHANDA MBERI,
Youth Rights Activist,