Wed, 05 Oct 2016 09:28:38 +0000
PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu should clean up the entire civil service because it is deeply infiltrated, corrupt and is deliberately exhibiting inertia to frustrate his vision to govern the country to the best of his abilities, Brebner Changala has charged.
Mr Changala, a leading civil rights activist and political commentator, said the civil service, including State House, was harbouring ‘‘some of the most undesired elements whose primary occupation is to frustrate the smooth operation of Government and the presidency’’. High level leakages of classfied information from treasury were testimony to the rot.
Mr Changala charged that the civil service was deeply infiltrated and polarised that it was incapable of helping President Lungu meet his vision and desire to change the social and economic fortunes of the country in the next five years. He said now that President Lungu was settling down following his inauguration three weeks ago and had almost completed forming his Cabinet, there was urgent need for the Head of State to focus on cleaning up the ‘‘inept civil service’’ he inherited from President Michael Sata in 2015. Mr Changala described the public service as being ‘‘in more ways than one incompetent and unprofessional’’.
He said he was concerned that the current civil service, including senior people at State House, were not helping President Lungu meet his vision of delivering to the expectation of citizens. Mr Changala claimed that the current civil service was not only bloated but was also functioning at less than 30 percent, and in the process frustrating the delivery of public services and the implementation of Government programmes.
“It is without question that the current civil service which President Lungu inherited is bloated and full of non-functioning officers yet they are paid huge salaries and allowances. The civil servants President Lungu is relying on to deliver the best is inept, corrupt and, to the worst, ever late for work but forever eager to attend workshops or go on holidays. ‘‘President Lungu may have the best ideas about how to govern Zambia prudently but with a fractured civil service, I am afraid he will not be able to live his dream,” Mr Changala said.
Mr Changala appealed to Cabinet minister to re-energise workers in their respective ministries and avoid actions that would betray President Lungu’s trust in them. He said the current civil service did not have a good work culture and appealed to permanent secretaries and directors to help President Lungu revamp the civil service which he said was highly compromised.
Mr Changala said President Lungu’s State of the Nation address to Parliament last week prescribed some the prudent and thrift measures of governing the country and it was therefore important that permanent secretaries and their directors cut on foreign trips and tours which were being undertaken at the expense of service delivery.
“I am happy that all permanent secretaries are now engaged under the performance-based contracts and this should eventually get down to directors and the ordinary civil servants. Why should a letter to a permanent secretary take one month or even more to be responded to? ‘‘It is time to get the best pesticide to clean up our civil service because the legacy of President Lungu depends on an effective civil service,” Mr Changala said.