THE Head of Local Government Service, Dr Nana Ato Arthur, has stated that the suspension of three staff of the Local Government Service was not a witch-hunt.
Dr Arthur said the decision to suspend the trio was in line with the laws of Ghana, which bar staff of the Local Government Service from openly participating in partisan politics.
Two of the three suspended staff of the Service – Alhaji MaazuAbubakar, Pru West constituency; and Alexander Hedidor, Suaman constituency – are facing disciplinary action for participating in the just ended parliamentary primaries of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
The third, Roland Nsoh-BillaAbire, Bolgatanga East, has also been interdicted for his involvement in the upcoming Parliamentary primaries of the governing New Patriotic Party.
In separate letters dated September 3, 2019 and signed by Dr Arthur communicating the disciplinary action to the affected persons, the Head of Local Government Service said their participation in the primaries breached the neutrality clauses which were required of them.
The letters read in part: “Your decision is in contravention of the Local Government Service Code of Conduct particularly, Canon (1): ‘the Principle of Anonymity and Permanence.'”
That clause as communicated by the letter to the affected persons states that “Officers and staff of the Local Government Service shall serve the State with neutrality and anonymity in the national and local government process.”
The letter added that the Local Government Service Council, which authorised the interdiction of the three persons “with immediate effect” would initiate investigation to establish the veracity or otherwise of the allegations of the involvement of the three in active politics.
A section of the public, however, think the suspension was a deliberate attempt to victimise people within the service who wish to align with the opposition party.
But Dr Arthur, briefing the media at a sensitisation workshop on Decentralisation and Local Governance here in Peduase in the Eastern Region on Wednesday, said the allegations are unfounded because the sword has fallen on persons on both sides of the political divide.
To Dr Arthur, the neutrality of the officers are key in the delivery of their mandate.
Dr Arthur said the decision was borne out of provisions in Article 94(3b) which states that a person shall not be eligible to be a member of Parliament if he or she is a member of the Police Service, the Prisons Service, the Armed Forces, the Judicial Service, the Legal Service, the Civil Service, the Audit Service, the Parliamentary Service, the Statistical Service, the Fire Service, the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service, the Immigration Service, or the Internal Revenue Service.
His outfit, he said, was not barring its staff from engaging in partisan politics but must do so by first resigning from the Local Government Service.
“Imagine a staff going to contest in a partisan election on the ticket of the NDC and losing and coming back to the office or vice versa. Will there be any trust between that failed candidate and the Chief Executive who is from the opposite party?” He asked.
“We are not witch-hunting anybody,” he stressed.
FROM JULIUS YAO PETETSI, PEDUASE