THE CIVIL service in many countries is not the best paying sector, but it is the safest. Many will prefer to become ‘pen pushers’ in some government department, content to patiently wait for their retirement benefits with no one interfering in their world.
Those are the professional bureaucrats who keep the government machinery running, reading from the same script passed down by their predecessors. They view any changes as a threat to their serene world.
That is where the Rwandan civil service breaks with tradition. Many young people flock to the civil service recruitment offices because of the many benefits, but there are no guarantees once they enter; they will have to prove their worth or the door will swing open.
The latest ministerial instructions on the ongoing restructuring exercise leave no room for doubt that the civil service is no laughing matter; it is a performance based vocation; there is no room for complacency.
The new guidelines spell out clearly the grounds for retention or in the worst case scenario, removal, depending on evaluations by competent authorities. But there is need to respect the labour law when the services of a civil servant are terminated for failing the evaluation.
Holding back termination benefits for failing an in-house evaluation goes against the Labour Code and could be grounds for abuse by those carrying out the evaluation.
Reforming the civil service for better service delivery and functionality is a noble cause, but it should not infringe on labour rights.