By Joseph Akim Gordon
Any institution that is small or big must have regulatory framework and legislation to give a direction and policies that will reduce or stop disputes between different directorates or units within the institutions. The establishment bill has administrative structures that can define the duties and responsibilities of every directorate and the officials that occupy these positions must be well versed with functions and responsibilities to avoid confusion in the work of different roles and duties.
The definition and duties must start with the ministers, Deputy Ministers, advisors the Undersecretaries, the Director Generals, Directors. The other senior staff including junior positions must be vocal of their work and responsibilities, this is essential to avoid individuals from encroaching his/her authority in different units that is not within his/her jurisdiction.
When senior hierarchy particularly the political leadership in the ministries must not interfere with the technical work of the ministry, they are responsible, they have the overall work of the ministries playing supervisory role but the technical cadres is the primary responsibilities of the technical cadre under the leadership of the undersecretaries, the implementation strategies is the direct responsibilities of the undersecretaries but the ministry’s political leadership is provided with the reports of the functioning of the ministries and involve directly with functions of the ministry.
They must not be seen as the implementers otherwise the technical people will have no role. In some ministries there used to be monthly senior management meetings where this committee examines work progress, challenges and way forward but many of these committees got dissolved. This is done with obvious intention. The undersecretaries or the accounting officers are too scared to claim their responsibilities taken over by the political leadership and remained silent for fear of retribution. In the ministries there should be check and balance as the situation stands now, there is no way to put the situation right.
When there is no clarity within the ministerial setting, there can be confusion in work that is supposed to be done by a particular unit. That can easily be hijacked by personnel from other units in many ministries. The undersecretaries are in charge of accounts of the ministries, in many cases they are referred to as accounting officers whenever service money is released from the ministry of finance and the accounting officer with the finance committee will meet and make the distribution of the money according to the approved budget each directorate gets according to what was spelled in the budget and the accounting officer who is the undersecretary forewords this plan for approval by the minister and then the distribution takes place. But it is noted with regret that the undersecretaries or the financial officers together with financial committee disabled this function is now being done by the political leadership.
This is a responsibility of a technical committee this is against the establishment bill when a minister or deputy get involved in financial issues dividing distributing to directorates and units is counter-productive because this is not the mandate of political leadership if the political leadership is not satisfied with this work should not approve and should call to review the list or if it became a recurring issue the best option is to form a new committee with its chairperson.
The crisis in ministry of health involving the Vice President, the Minister and Undersecretary is a typical example that the role of establishment bill has not been adhered to, now this situation has squarely put us in constitutional crisis, if there was an establishment bill the Vice President, the Minister and the Undersecretary should know their precise roles within the ministry’s structure so for this reason the new ministers, political appointees must undertake on-the job training to avoid the embracement that shook the ministry of health I am sure this is not only confined to the ministry of health, many ministries or institutions are suffering in silence.
To resolve this situation with the support from ministry of justice to offer technical support for those ministries that are not able to formulate establishment bill. The establishment bill will empower an individual to fight for his/her role within the ministries setting whoever steps into your leg you will be able to fight for your right. The current crisis within the ministry of health, if there was an establishment bill perhaps this crisis would have been avoided.
Within the hierarchy of the ministry of health, that the reason for every appointment in political positions and senior cadres in civil services, the new ministers must have undergone for job orientation for few weeks so that the new minister is well acquainted with the job of the minister or any other political position in the government. a lay person appointed when he/she does not have fully understood his responsibilities and duties what he/she can do and what he/she should not do. Although the technical cadres lead by the undersecretaries is the fear that might happened if he revealed the truth as truth is often bitter and fear of retribution