It has long been the position of the law that civil servants cannot engage in partisan politics. The supreme law of the land, the 1992 Constitution, debars civil servants from participating in partisan politics.
The Supreme Court of Ghana also frowns on the participation of civil servants in partisan politics.
The underlying reason is that personnel of the service owe allegiance to the state and must remain politically neutral to enable them to serve the state well through the government of the day.
The reasoning behind this position is that the service, once politicised, cannot play its role effectively and so it must be neutral to serve the interest of the state ahead of any political consideration.
The Supreme Court in 2017 held in the case of the Civil and Local Government Staff Association of Ghana (CLOGSAG) vs the Attorney-General & 2 Others that a member of the civil service or local government cannot contest for elections, other than local government elections, or hold a political party position.
In the unanimous view of the nine-member panel of the apex court, excessive partisanship in the civil and or local government services affect the anonymity and neutrality principles required for the civil service to function effectively.
“At this stage of our socio-political development when political discourse is all pervasive and rivalry can easily trigger a whole range of reactions, including even violence, it would be most unhealthy to countenance civil and local government servants who publicly proclaim their [political] leanings in the public space,” a portion of the Court’s ruling read.
In spite of the apex court’s decision, the civil service is not completely rid of partisan politics because once a while, one gets the hint of political activities on the corridors of the service.
That is why the Head of the Civil Service, Nana Kwasi Agyekum-Dwamena, cautioned civil servants against engaging in partisan politics ahead of the December 7, 2020 elections.
Addressing members of the CLOGSAG at the launch of the 2020 Civil Service Week in Accra yesterday, Mr Agyekum-Dwamena said any civil servant caught engaged in open campaign for any of the political parties would be sanctioned in line with the code of conduct of the Service.
He advised that any staff member of the service who wished to engage in politics must resign and join the private sector, where there would be no limitation on their political activities.
According to him, dealing with political neutrality of staff has been a key issue that confronts the service after every election, especially when there is a change of government as accusations filter in alleging political bias.
The Ghanaian Times shares in the view of the service that civil servants must remain politically neutral.
As a government machinery that is supposed to serve the state, the service would find it suicidal to become the wing of any party in or out of government.
We call on all personnel in the service to heed the counsel of Mr Agyekum-Dwamena and work in the supreme interest of the country rather than any political grouping.