Sunday 11 June 2023


The Public Service Commission has directed all civil servants intending to contest the 2023 polls to resign and leave their Government jobs but will allow them to return by setting aside a provision for them to re-apply for their jobs in the event that they lose in the polls within 30 days of that loss.

All civil servants with political ambitions have been given the greenlight to contest the upcoming elections, but they must notify the commission in writing of their plans according to a confidential Memo dated 18 May directed to all Government departments by the Ministry of Public Service.

According to the circular, a civil servant is deemed to have resigned from the public service on the date of being given permission to run for public office by the PSC.

However, civil servants have a right to reapply within 30 days of the election as long as they are not contesting the results.

It says that for participation in parliamentary elections, a member would be deemed to have resigned from the service with effect from the date of acceptance of his or her nomination by the Nomination Court.

“A member of the Public Service who wishes to become a candidate for election to a local authority or has been nominated as a candidate by a political party, political organisation or political movement or declares himself or herself as a candidate for election to Parliament or local authority shall submit, in writing, a letter notifying the commission of his or her intentions,” reads part of the statement.

“The member shall be deemed to have resigned from the Public Service with effect from the date that the authority is granted for those seeking election to a local authority.”

This is in accordance with the clause of the Constitution that forbids Government employees from running for office or taking any positions in political parties prior to leaving the civil service as that is unconstitutional.

“A person who has ceased to be a member of the Public Service and who fails to secure or abandons his or her candidature or fails to be elected to Parliament or local authority, may apply in writing to the commission for reappointment within 30 days after the holding of elections.”

If there is an electoral petition, such a dispute in a ward of Parliament seat, the applying civil servant has to wait after the courts have sort out the petition.

“Former members who have lost in elections may be re-appointed provided a suitable post exists and subject to such terms and conditions as Commission may set to an office or post in the Public Service,” reads the statement.

“If a member abandons his candidature or fails to be elected, the member should apply to the Commission 30 days after the election for reinstatement,” reads the circular.

Civil servants who spoke to The Herald said it was a positive step that would inspire their colleagues to take an active role in politics.

“Although I am grateful that the government has given us the go-ahead to participate, I think one should render his or her resignation letter after winning the election,” a civil servant who requested anonymity said.

Another civil servant who could not divulge her name because of the nature of her job said: “I want to contest in the forthcoming elections but I am afraid I might lose my job permanently if I do. I don’t want to take risks,” she said.”

Reacting to the latest development, Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) president Mr Richard Gundani said they had never discussed it because the provision has always been in place.

“The constitution states that all civil servants must be apolitical, but that has always been the case so they are simply following the policy.

“However, we have never discussed about the issue as a organisation,” he said. Herald


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