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Political Motive Cannot Be Ruled Out In Civil Servants’ Performance

Political Motive Cannot Be Ruled Out In Civil Servants’ Performance
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.
December 29
14:58 2016

ANALYSIS: The case of Alipate Qetaki versus Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama highlights the grey area in the relationship between civil servants and their political masters.

It calls to question the honesty and integrity of some.

On one hand are the political masters (from the legislature) focused on delivering their promises to the people to build a better Fiji.

On the other hand are the civil  servants whom the political masters rely on to implement their policies.

Sometimes there is a disconnect between the two camps and it causes tension, bitterness and distrust.

Policies and development plans from the Government are not implemented effectively and the people, the intended recipients, suffer.

Civil servants include the permanent secretaries and those who come under their wings. Those who work for Government statutory bodies like the iTaukei Land Trust Board, while independent from the civil service, also implement policies of the Government of the day.

 

Service delivery to the people is affected by the following:

Incompetence.

Inability of the ministry or civil servants to implement a plan. This is because of a lack of qualified, experienced and skilled people.

Inefficiency.

Failure to follow widely accepted international standards to maximise productivity and achieve excellent results.

Political sabotage.

A deliberate attempt to discredit the Government by civil servants who are not politically aligned to it. Some civil servants leak confidential documents to try to embarrass the Government.

We see that happening on social media from time to time. Some deliberately drag their feet to slow down or undermine Government projects.

These are the challenges that face the political masters, the Government.

Mr Bainimarama discovered recently at Navua while talking to flood victims that a housing project earmarked for a community had mysteriously been suspended.

The funds committed for the project had been withheld. He was told that it was done because Navua had not been declared a town.

Mr Bainimarama ordered that the funds be released and used  for housing rehabilitation after the floods. Minister for Housing Parveen Bala said later the housing project was going ahead.

Under civil service rules, civil servants are there to provide support for the Government of the day whether they agree with their policies or not. They are not allowed to use their positions for personal gain or seek political favour. They are there to implement the policies of the Government.

But the rules do not take away their rights to vote during a general election. All those in the voting age are guaranteed this right – to elect a government of their choice.

Despite all the good intentions  behind the doctrine of the separation of power lines sometimes become blurred.

It cannot be helped for a very good reason.

From this Government’s perspective, it wants the promises it made to the people delivered. The civil servants are entrusted with the task to deliver them.

Under normal circumstances it happens and becomes part of the routine. But, as we all know, there have been cracks in the system and some projects have not been satisfactorily implemented for reasons that have already been explained.

The political motive cannot be ruled out.

It is a concern and even a worry for the Government.

 

Edited by Paula Tuvuki

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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