Nullify Presidential Office Act — CLOGSAG
The Civil and Local Government Staff Association of Ghana (CLOGSAG) has called on the government to take steps to nullify the Presidential Office Act, 1993 (Act 463) which gives the President the power to appoint staffers and special assistants.
That, it said, was because the Act was unconstitutional and unwarranted and a conduit to employ party apparatchiks and "goro" boys to undermine the work of the public services.
To avert the problem, it said the government should revert to the public services to appoint and manage officers serving at the Office of the President as required under the Constitution.
"Article 197 of the constitution has adequately mandated and positioned the Public Services Commission to ensure that the necessary administrative, regulatory, managerial and institutional arrangements are put in place at the Office of the President," the Executive Secretary of CLOGSAG, Isaac Bampoe Addo, said at a press conference in Accra yesterday.
According to him, the use of the Presidential Office Act 1993 was to virtually duplicate the work of the appointing authorities of the Civil Service Council and the Local Government Council.
" The promulgation of the Presidential Office Act, 1993 (Act 463) enabling the president to appoint persons described as presidential staffers or special assistants is unwarranted and a conduit to employ party apparatchiks and "goro boys" to undermine the work of the Public Services that are constitutionally mandated to assist the government in its work, he said.
Mr Addo noted that Article 190 of the 1992 Constitution of the country outlined the public services of Ghana and prescribed how those services should be organised and staffed and that had adequately provided the necessary institutional needs of the presidency.
Furthermore, he said, Article 190(2) of the 1992 Constitution made the Civil Service part of the public services which was the central government machinery servicing the Office of the President and "by extension the executive arm of government by way of staffing and operations.
This is in consonant with the other services; Parliamentary Service and the Judicial Service, servicing the Legislature and Judiciary respectively".
He said the objectives of the Civil Service Act 1993 (PNDCL 327) was to assist the government in the formulation and implementation of policies for the development of the country.
Mr Addo said Article 195 (1) of the constitution stated that “Subject to the provisions of this constitution, the power to appoint persons to hold or to act in an office in the public services shall vest in the President, acting in accordance with the advice of the governing council of the service concerned, given in consultation with the Public Services Commission.”
Among other things, he said, Articles 70 and 195 (1&2) clearly gave the President the mandate to appoint public officers which did not include the power given to the President in the Presidential Office Act to appoint presidential staffers.
“The appointing power of the President given in the Presidential Office Act is, therefore, inconsistent with the provisions of the constitutions.
The intention here is that all presidential staffers must be public officers,” he emphasised.
The CLOGSAG Executive Secretary indicated that the association had over the years observed and noted with dismay the abuse of the executive power in the appointment of numerous presidential staffers which had tainted the credibility of the Public Services and sought to diminish its relevance in the face of the public.
“This, to a large extent, has expanded the public services workforce and its related expenditure.
Currently, Ghana is bedevilled with certain economic woes that can be attributed to these practices.
“These issues and challenges to a very large extent are self-inflicted and can easily be forestalled if due process and recognition of the constitution are adhered to,” he said.
CLOGSAG, Mr Addo said, had further noted with vexation the current phenomenon of appointing special assistants to perform jobs of public servants, adding that the situation had contributed to an alarming development of a takeover of public services jobs by political apparatchiks and cohorts.
Such clandestine acts by the political elite, he said, if not checked would erode the significance and support base of the country’s governance architecture and system.
Citing examples, he said, there were instances where politicians entered the services as special assistants and were made to act as directors, procurement officers, assistant directors, drivers who took home salaries and allowances far above the permanent public servants because the Presidential Office Act recognised them under Article 71 of the constitution.
He said although there might be certain circumstances which might require special skills that were not readily available in the public services to work in certain positions in the Office of the President, the Civil Service Act stated that: “The Head of the Civil Service may make proposals to the government to give out on contractual, retainer or commission basis specified occupational areas of the functions of the service to private organisations.”