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Protection of Tenure of Office!

Protection of Tenure of Office!

Certain provisions in the 1991 constitution of our country guarantee the tenure of office of certain important offices in the land. This means that holders of such offices cannot just be removed at the whim and caprice of the President even in the exercise of supreme executive powers. There are constitutional procedures to be followed by the president before holders of such offices could be removed. This arrangement no doubt adds to the beauty of democracy and good governance.

In fact, the Civil Service in general enjoys permanent status, which means that civil servants have job security until retirement at age sixty. Some even argue that Civil Servants who are physically fit and of sane mind to execute their duties after their retirement age, can be given the opportunity to continue to serve, even though this is not tenable as a matter of law.

The protection of the tenure of office exclusively guaranteed by the constitution should be respected. Any attempt at any point in time to tamper such a fundamental provision of the highest law of the land bears the consequences of setting a very bad precedence that will haunt successive administrations and will definitely not augur well for democracy and good governance to thrive. It will instill fear in the system and the whole concept of job security eroded.

It is against this background that we view the unfolding saga of the un-procedural and rather unconstitutional suspension of the Auditor General and her deputy by the President as opening the flood gates for the erosion of the tenure of office protected by the constitution.

We believe that such a path will set in motion a grave error that constitutes constitutional breach and this must be guarded against as a nation on the road of building our fledgling democracy.  

In worst case scenario, there have been instances in which even civil servants have been removed from their offices due to political reasons rather than on merit of reaching the retirement age. A classical instance of the manifestation of such an uncouth tendency is the unprecedented mutilation of democracy as evident in the removal of ten elected Members of Parliament and the instantaneous swearing of second runner up who were not voted for by the electorate. We are cautioning the powers that be to guard against such extremity in the exercise of their powers and allow due process to take its course.

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