The Promotion of Good Ethical Standards and Behaviour in Public Services in Africa: The Case of Zimbabwe

On gaining independence in April 1980 Zimbabwe inherited a public service whose key elements of State machinery were those of the former white settler colonial government. After outlining some theoretical assumptions on State-public service relations, describing the public service Zimbabwe inherited after independence, and giving an overview of five sources of demands for good ethical standards, the author identifies some major factors that have contributed to the reduction of work ethics or the increased incidence of unethical behaviour among public servants in Zimbabwe. Next, the author presents a typology of unethical behaviour, which varies by type, status of the public servant and by ministries’ unique functions and activities. This is followed by a description of the three main categories of mechanisms (financial, personnel and ad hoc institutional investigations) that would ensure that standards of performance are maintained, and a discussion of the penalties imposed by the public service commission and the courts. Finally, the author suggests some methods which aim at strengthening the modalities of improving public service performance and consequently the trust people have in the service: training, personnel management, involvement of staff associations, and adequate remuneration of public servants. Bibliogr.

Title: The Promotion of Good Ethical Standards and Behaviour in Public Services in Africa: The Case of Zimbabwe
Author: Agere, Samuel
Year: 1992
Periodical: Africanus
Volume: 22
Issue: 1-2
Pages: 39-52
Language: English
Geographic term: Zimbabwe
Abstract: On gaining independence in April 1980 Zimbabwe inherited a public service whose key elements of State machinery were those of the former white settler colonial government. After outlining some theoretical assumptions on State-public service relations, describing the public service Zimbabwe inherited after independence, and giving an overview of five sources of demands for good ethical standards, the author identifies some major factors that have contributed to the reduction of work ethics or the increased incidence of unethical behaviour among public servants in Zimbabwe. Next, the author presents a typology of unethical behaviour, which varies by type, status of the public servant and by ministries’ unique functions and activities. This is followed by a description of the three main categories of mechanisms (financial, personnel and ad hoc institutional investigations) that would ensure that standards of performance are maintained, and a discussion of the penalties imposed by the public service commission and the courts. Finally, the author suggests some methods which aim at strengthening the modalities of improving public service performance and consequently the trust people have in the service: training, personnel management, involvement of staff associations, and adequate remuneration of public servants. Bibliogr.