Tuesday, May 26, 2020

The Civil Service is now part of the economic problems bedeviling this country

The most commonplace argument against the Botswana civil service has always been that it was too powerful, too unaccountable and by and large contemptuous of the elected political leadership.

We wholly agree with all the three criticisms.

But of recent, the civil service has attracted more labels all of which are very much justified. Over the years the civil service in Botswana was peddled around as one of the most professional in the continent. That label can no longer be fairly justified.

We have seen with our eyes how over the last 10 years the civil service has become a bastion of inefficiency. The pool of talent and experience has shrunk to the bone.

The reason why Government is no longer able to coordinate its projects is because the dearth of talent that used to be the defining feature of this civil service has now been sliced to the bone.

Almost all self-respecting people who should by now be at the helm of the civil service have opted to either retire to their homes or join the private sector.

People are no longer promoted because they are capable. Rather they are promoted on account of how much they appeal to the Permanent Secretary to the president who is the head of the Civil Service.

The upshot of it all is that almost the entire leadership of the Civil Service, especially Permanent Secretaries are people who are either not qualified or experienced enough to be holding those positions.

These leaders other than that they do not know what they are doing, they also are not inspiring to their juniors.

This is a civil service that this country does not need, does not deserve and would very much do well without.
It is a civil service hatched in the image of the power people who control the government levers today. These people are in separate measures vindictive, megalomaniac and bully.

Brilliant career civil servants who have worked hard over the years have been forced to retire or resign. Others have done so on their own because they could not stand the contamination which has replaced service, meritocracy and loyalty to the country with favouritism, mediocrity and bootlicking.

No efforts should be spared to return the Civil Service to where it used to be. These should include appointing and promoting people on merit.

That means doing away with favouritism.

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Sunday Standard May 24 – 30

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of May 24 - 30, 2020.