Despite Public Services Commission’s Directive
It has become clear that, many appointees of President Akufo-Addo, are not ready to respect the strict directives of the Public Services Commission to all workers in the Public Service to resign from their post, after declaring their intentions to contest political party primaries to become Members of Parliament (MPs) in the December 2020 General Elections.
The Chairman of the Public Services Commission, Janet Ampadu Fofie, had in a circular dated August 8, 2019, to all Public Servants, reminding them of constitutional provisions and several opinions by the Attorney General in 2008 and 2015, which bar them from remaining in the Public Service, after expressing their interest to take part in active partisan politics.
The Chairperson, also reminded them of various Circular issued by the Public Service Commission in 2008, 2012 and 2015 and asked governing boards and councils of public agencies, department, organizations, to caution their members, who wish to engage in active party politics to adhere to the Constitutional Provisions regarding their decisions and resign.
However, appointees such as Stephen Amoah of the Micro Finance and Small Loans (MASLOC) and his Deputy, Hajia Abibata Shanni Mahama Zakariah, are contesting for parliamentary seats in Nhyiaeso in the Ashanti Region and Yendi Constituencies in the Northern Region respectively,on the ticket of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), but are not ready to resign from their government jobs.
Moses Mensah Assem, Deputy Managing Director of Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company (BOST) and Abraham Kofi Asante of the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) are contesting also for NPP seats in North Tongu in the Volta Region and Amenfi West in the Western Region, respectively and again are not ready to resign from their state jobs.
Two senior officers of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) with their posters out seeking to go to Parliament on the ticket of the NPP, are also yet to resign from their posts.
They are Sector Commander of the Elubo Collection Point, Assistant Commissioner (AC), Edward K Osei and Principal Revenue Officer, Robert Coffie-Amoako, at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) collection, are contesting the Aowin constituency in the Western North Region parliamentary seat.
Ironically, two police officers, Superintendent, Peter Toobu, the former Executive Secretary to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and Detective Corporal, John Evans Ayerakwa-Kumordzi, have had to drop their uniforms and leave the Police Service to pursue their political ambitions on the ticket of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
The Head of Local Government Service, Dr. Nana Ato Arthur, also recently sacked Alexander Hedidor and Ahajia Maazu Abubakar for also contesting the NDC primaries, but those contesting on the NPP tickets are yet to obey the August 8, letter from the Commission.
The commission, had said that “it has come to the attention of the Public Services Commission that a number of public servants have declared their intentions to contest in political party primaries as members of parliament during the December 2020 General Elections. Following numerous consultation and opinions by the Attorney General in 2008, 2012 and 2015, the Commission reiterates that participation of public officers in party politics is governed by constitutional provisions.”
She said Clause (2) Article 55 of 1992 Constitution provides that “Every citizen in Ghana of voting age has the right to join a political party,” while Paragraph (e) Clause (1) of Article 21 of the Constitution provides for “Freedom of association, which shall include freedom of form or join trade unions or other association, national and international, for the protection of their interests!”
She also cited Clause (3) of the Article 21 of the Constitution, which states that “all citizens shall have the right and freedom to form or join political parties, and to participate in political activities, subject to such qualifications and laws as are necessary in a free and democratic society, and are consistent with this Constitution.”
The Constitution notes, however, in Article 284 that: “A public officer shall not put himself/herself in a position where his personal interest conflicts, or is likely to conflict, with the performance of the functions of his office,” she said.
Therefore, a public officer, who intends to take part in active political activities, whether directly or indirectly, should first resign from the Public Service before taking the proximate steps towards the realization of the ambition to be a member of parliament, or engage in open party politics”adding “this is a choice that the public officer cannot be denied. However, the integrity of the Public Service shall not be compromised”.
“Furthermore, a public officer shall not, in the performance of his/her official functions act as an agent for or further the interest of a political party or openly support a political party or candidate in deed or action”, the statement said.
“The Commission is thus by this circular requesting governing Boards and Councils of Public Service Agencies/Organization to communicate this policy forcefully to all staff as we enter into the season of elections for 2020. The Commission further directs that Governing Board and Council must take all necessary steps to ensure adherence and compliance with this directive”.
It is not clear, whether President Akufo-Addo, will take the bold step and dismiss them from their posts, as per the directive from the Commission.