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Government Losing Too Many Cases In Civil Servants’ Hiring Appeals

by Daniel Sabiiti
11:31 am

Agnes Kayijire, Vice Chairperson of Public Service Commission (NPSC)

The National Public Service Commission (NPSC) has told parliament that there is a new plan of evaluating civil servants to ensure that they perform to expectations.

This commitment comes after the parliament received several reports from the public accounts and social affairs committees showing growing negligence in taking responsibility, abiding by the laws and failure to hold civil servants accountable.

A presidential order of February 2021 determines professional ethics for a public servant. The guiding principles of  civil servant in the decree include:

The one excels and is professional, accountable, integral and trustworthy, impartial, works with a person centered service mindset, transparent and collaborative but also with responsibility and create a service relationship with beneficiaries.

To implement this, Service Commission Vice Chairperson, Agnes Kayijire said that there will be a special program to train all civil servants to understand the presidential decree and this training will be conducted by the labor ministry and service commission.

“We are preparing a training manual that will be used to conduct this training. Once it is complete we will embark in its implementation to change the service sector and improve its effectiveness,” Kayijire said on Thursday while presenting the commission’s annual report 2020-21 and action plan 2021-22 to both the Chamber of Deputies and Senate.

Kayijire said that these will also be followed by grooming a young generation of Rwandans to learn and assimilate these service values, however on the civil servants they will be critically evaluated and good performers rewarded.

The commission also said that despite challenges in civil service recruitment there has been improvement in submission of job vacancy reports from 95% to 100%, participation in job application from 70.9% in 2016 to 89.7% to date.

Moreover, appeals against rejected applications have reduced from 29.4% (in 2019) to 25.7% today; while implementation of recommendations increased from 85.8% to 96% in this year’s report.

The slow reduction in appeal cases, commission said, it was as a result of officials not taking time to handle cases before hand and also that many civil servants just want to appeal or sue government.

Also the commission showed that there has been a reduction in government organs sued in courts from 28 organs in 2019 to 15 organs thus a reduction in the amount of fines government has to pay with cases lost in court.

However, this time around NPSC said that government had lost 93 out of 101 cases in which government was sued and fined over Rwf638million including Rwf528million that was due to abuse of civil servant labor rights.

Back in February 2020 the NPSC reported that government lost about Rwf54.2 million in lost court cases mostly due to civil servants being fired illegally by their bosses and also as a result of poor contract management.

The then findings indicated that of the 65 labor related court cases worth Rwf54.2 million, government lost 60 which represents 92.3% due to unlawful dismissal and delayed payment and reimbursement of civil servant salaries.

Following the delayed response to resolve cases, the amount that was owed to complainants increased to over Rwf520million.

Comparing these figures and the commission’s report on this issue of government losing court cases, many MPs remained concerned of the level of negligence that still manifests among government officials in managing civil servants and contracts.

Commission said that one of the way forward is to handle the civil servants cases at hand but also increase holding officials accountable in cases of mismanagement or abuse of their power.

MP Elisabeth Mukamana said that in hiring civil servants, it looks like they (officials) don’t value the recruitment exercise and this shows negligence to some extent.

“What are you doing to improve the illegal staffing. Huye, Ngoma and Rulindo have teachers without dossiers. What is being done to reduce appeals in job placements,” Mukamana asked.

MP Chantal Mbakeshimana also asked why there are poor exams preparation and if this couldn’t be a case poor planning in government organs.

Plan for 2021-22

Assess tenders and the process of tendering by 60% of all tenders and also do consistent audits, monitor and evaluate teacher recruitment procedures in districts after it has become evident that the education sector is the baseline of recruitment problems.

For example the commission report showed that there is a problem of negligence in district teachers recruitment of which in an assessment conducted in 2020 in six districts of Nyanza, Huye, Rubavu, Rulindo, Nyarugenge, Ngoma.

In the appeared that of the 11, 795 teachers some of the in four areas (522 teachers) didn’t have full application dossiers, other 786 without some essential degree documents and 1,045 without  judicial clearance, 850 without medical reports, 1,028 without appointment letters.

The report also showed 349 teachers were employed without teaching qualifications, 1,143 not promoted and 110 not given transfer letters, while some foreigners didn’t have job contracts, 445 employed without a three month trial test period among others.

To resolve this, the commission committed to analyzing the cause of court cases in which government organs are sued in court, but also increase civil service staff management in districts and mass education in civil service laws through media outlets.

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