Press statement: ZEIC Appalled by Civil Servants Engaging in Partisan Politics
Lusaka, 21 July 2016:
The Zambia Elections Information Centre (ZEIC) Council of Elders is greatly appalled by the conduct of some civil servants who are meddling in partisan politics ahead of the of August 11 general elections.
Through the ZEIC platforms on SMS, social media, email and monitoring platforms, we have received numerous reports of civil servants such as District Commissioners who have gone all out into partisan politics. We have recorded a number of cases where senior government employees have been seen to openly campaign for the ruling party. What is even more saddening is that in some cases, these officials are abusing their positions to trample on the rights of innocent citizens who may not agree with their political stance. In one heart rending example, a District Commissioner in a rural constituency stopped food distribution at a school because the women who were doing that belonged to an opposition party. We have also received reports of District Commissioners imposing cadres to be engaged as voter education officers.
As a Council, we find such conduct by civil servants to be disgraceful, shameful, unethical, unconstitutional, immoral, illegal and unacceptable. It must stop forthwith. We cannot have cadres masquerading as civil servants, at public expense. Let cadres be cadres, and let civil servants be civil servants. Civil servants need to stay out of partisan politics. The role of civil servants is to serve the people, including those who may carry different political views. Civil servants must leave politics to the politicians and must at all times conduct themselves in a manner that shows they respect the people who are their employers.
The role of civil servants is to ensure that government policies are implemented to the expectation of the people. The moment a civil servant becomes an active participant in partisan politics, they compromise their ability to independently and efficiently carry out their duties in a manner that is accountable to the citizens. their allegiance is clearly to the party they are supporting.
We call on all political parties abusing public servants to put an immediate stop to this. The citizens are watching, and at the right time they will hold to account those officials abusing office.
Issued by Fr. Leonard Chiti, Chairperson of the ZEIC Council of Elders
Members of the Council of Elders: Dr Anna Chifungula, Mama Chibesa Kankasa, Mr Simon Zukas