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Everyone knows…

To our readers: The Strathink Editorial Team is pleased to announce a new weekly feature called “Everybody knows…” . The objective of this feature is to bring facts to a political discourse often held hostage to rumors, gossip and innuendo. “Every knows…” will look at what people say and think to be true–despite facts to the contrary. Additionally, we will give context to the perceptions in order to understand why people are asserting facts to the contrary. Our first–“everyone knows you have to be a member of the party to join the civil service and attend the Civil Service University.”

Ethiopia’s civil service is under the Federal Civil Servants Proclamation No. 515/2007. According to Article 13 (1), Recruitment:

1/Any type of recruitment of a civil servant shall be effected only on the result of examination conducted on the basis of nationally set criteria or on the basis of any other type of objective certification of professional and occupational competence.

2/ There shall be no discrimination among job seekers or civil servants in filling vacancies because of their ethnic origin, sex, religion, political outlook, disability, HIV/AIDS or any other ground.

3/ Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 48 to 51 of this Proclamation, vacant position shall be filled only by a person who meets the qualification required for the position and scores higher than other candidates.

By law, recruitment into the civil service is based on the result of a competitive exam. The candidate who scores the highest and has the requisite qualifications gets the job.

To promote diversity, Article 50, Conditions of Work Applicable to Minority Nationalities, states:

1/ The placement of personnel in a government institution shall take into account fair representation of nations and nationalities.

2/ Nations and nationalities having lesser representations within a government institution shall be given the advantage of affirmative actions in recruitment, promotion, transfer, redeployment, education and training.

Admission to the Civil Service University is open to all civil servants who meet these requirements–a program related examination, an English proficiency exam, and an aptitude test. 

Why is there such a strong misperception about the civil service? It could be that party members within the civil service cross the boundaries of their professional responsibilities and represent the party rather than the government. It is important to note that all civil servants take an oath of fidelity that states:

“I being a civil servant solemnly swear to sincerely, faithfully and ethically serve the people and execute government policy, and to respect at all times the Constitution and the laws of the Country and not to disclose to any party information that is revealed to me by reason of my duties and is classified as confidential by law or decision of the appropriate body”.

The civil servant serves the people under the Constitution and the laws of the country–not the party. 

In the United States, for example, civil servants, under the Hatch Act, are prohibited from engaging in political activity in the course of their job responsibilities. This does not mean that civil servants cannot engage in political activities at all. Every citizen has the right to participate in politics. However, civil servants cannot participate in partisan activity during the course of their workday.

Perhaps the government needs to communicate information about the civil service and the role of the civil servant to its citizens. Citizens should also be advised to inform the appropriate authorities should they believe a civil servant is abusing the sacred trust of the civil service.








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