Veteran Politician Vernon Mwaanga says the Zambian Civil Service has been over politicised with the appointment of ruling party cadres without qualifications.

In a statement, Thursday, Mwaanga stated that it was wrong to appoint people into the civil service not based on their qualifications and ability to perform but their loyalty to the party in power.

“The Public service plays a major and indispensable role in any genuine democracy in terms of delivering service to ordinary people. Once upon a time, Zambia had a professional and highly respected Public service, which was not involved in partisan politics. Sadly, over the years, the public service has become too politicised and the appointment of cadres into the Civil Service, particularly those without the necessary qualifications, has made the situation even worse. Most of these appointments are not made on merit, let alone the ability of particular individuals to diligently perform their duties. The appointments are made on the basis of their personal loyalty to the head of state or the party in power or both. Consequently, service delivery to the people of Zambia has suffered immeasurably,” Mwanga stated.

He stated that civil servants must be politically neutral and ready to serve any government that assumes office.

“In a democracy, it is the civil service which is supposed to provide continuity because it is supposed to be politically neutral, to serve whatever new government assumes office. Responsiveness and accountability of the public service to members of the public they serve is central to the process of good governance. Responsiveness and accountability subsume efficient delivery of services to the people they serve. It is extremely important to make the public service accountable to the people they serve, who are their masters,” Mwaanga stated.

He stated that a professional civil service must be accountable to the people in order to win their trust and confidence.

“It is my view that the public service must be accountable to the citizens as it promotes trust and confidence in public officials, it enhances the authority and legitimacy of governments, it encourages openness and transparency in governments, it enables public officials to be aware of the needs and demands of the people they serve, it makes public officials accountable for their actions and forces public officials to address citizens’ complaints and grievances in a timely manner,” stated Mwaanga.

“Citizens must feel a sense of ownership, we should not create a situation where citizens begin to fear their public servants, be they in administration, the police, the security forces or other arms of government. It should be the public servants who must fear but preferably respect the people they serve.”

Last week, PF Luapula Province chairman Nickson Chilangwa, who is also provincial minister, said it was foolish for some district commissioners not to campaign for the party on the basis that they are civil servants, arguing that they were all in their positions because of the party.