Disciplinary Procedures And Job Performance Of Civil Servants In Bamenda
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1.1 Background to the study
The Civil Service of any country is regarded as a transformational institution because of its timeless responsibility of implementing public policies and programmes and the rendering of essential Services to the masses. The Civil Service is an indispensable instrument for the implementation of government policies and programmes.
This is because it is through the instrumentality of Civil Service that government policies are translated into Services for the people (Maikudi 2012). On this note, Ugwu-olo (2007) avers that the success or failure of any policy of government is a function of the disposition of the civil servants to its implementation. Similarly, Abasili (2008) argued that no matter how well articulated government programmes may be, they cannot be successfully implemented without effective administrative machinery whose technical competence, loyalty and commitment should translate ministerial policies and programmes into action.
Put differently, there is little or no hope of success in the delivery of Services if the Civil Servants are not professional or ethical in their conducts. According to Gildenhuys (1991), poor, dishonest management of public affairs and corruption (immoral acts) are among the most important manifestations of unethical conduct.
Maladministration and corruption in the public sector are usually widely broadcast and exaggerated, largely because the public sector is spending taxpayers’ money. For practitioners in the public sector, especially for public supervisors, it is important that there be guidelines according to which they must operate, administer and direct the public Service, and place subordinates on the right track precisely to prevent corruption and eliminate maladministration. It is worthy to note that the Civil Service is the heart of the public Service. The Civil Service constitutes the inner core of the public Service. This is because the strength and the efficiency of the Civil Service are vital to the success of the government machinery as a whole. It is the loyalty and commitment of members of the Civil Service which ensures the effective translation into action of ministerial policies and programs. The successful implementation of government programmes no matter how well articulate it may be, depends on the effective administrative machinery whose technical competence, loyalty and commitment should translate ministerial policies and programmes into action. (Abasili 2008, Olu-Adeyemi & Tomola 2010: 123-138; Anifowose & Enemuo; 1999, Maduabum & Gayya, 2004).
The Cameroonn Civil Service has its roots from in the British system. Lagos and Ondo state Civil Service came into existence with the creation of each of the two states in 1967 and 1976 respectively. Unfortunately, Cameroonn Civil Service, and the Civil Service of the component states have had their fair share of political impasse with sundry reforms, thus altering their normal course.
The primary function of the Civil Service in Cameroon is to implement government policies and programmes. The ability of Civil Servant to perform this function effectively depends largely on the quality of training, motivation, integrity of the judges (supervisors) and other players.
Salisu (2011:67) opined that the traditional role of Civil Servant in Cameroon has been diluted by the politicization of the Civil Service in recent years undermining its credibility and integrity. Presidents and state governors tend to listen more to their close political supporters and associates than to professional Civil Servants because they (Civil Servants) are associated with inefficiency, ineffectiveness, corruption, self-interest and lack of accountability as such, government and the society no longer have confidence and trust in the Civil Servants.
Because of the gross indiscipline among the rank and file of Civil Servants there is a great need for disciplinary measures for the purpose of improving employees’ performance on the job. Ordinarily, many factors such as motivation, training, poor work environment, inadequate information on employees’ feedback, discrimination and bias judgment to mention but few have contributed to employee low job performance. The authority in person of the supervisor very often is faced with problems of correcting these abnormalities of the Civil Servants to a large extent thinks that formal discipline is the only method he can apply to deal with poor performance and unacceptable behaviour.
While some employee seems to think that supervisors take pleasure in the above process, the truth is that it is usually a dreaded exercise which can often be done in an effective way. When employee’s discipline is done properly, it does not have to result into hurt feelings or resentments. On the other hand, when it is not done properly, it is often seen as unfair and can actually result into low job performance.
Therefore, the supervisor that imposes discipline needs to be disciplined and trained for the purpose of achieving disciplinary objective. This is because the primary objective of discipline is to correct certain behaviour or misconduct in respect of job performance and not punishment. This requires that the employees have adequate information (feedback) about their current performance, attendance or behaviour vis-a-vis the desired performance. (Aguinis, Joo and Gohfredson, 2011, Aguinis 2009).
It is against this background that the study examined the disciplinary procedure and job performance among Civil Servants in Bamenda.
1.2 Statement of the Problem.
The fact that discipline involves human beings is a reason why disciplinary procedures should be equal, fair, consistent and impartial. There are already laid down rules and regulations on disciplinary procedures and measures irrespective of the individuals involved. For result and development oriented bureaucracy, rules are supposed to be respecter of no person and to be uncompromising.
The concept of disciplinary procedures for increase in job performance in a developing country like Cameroon has consistently posed serious challenges in the Civil Service since 1960 to date. The major problem is, however, the poor implementation of disciplinary procedures of Civil Servants.
There have been claims and counter claims that the appropriate disciplinary process are not usually followed in the handling of cases involving civil servants. Many extra- legalistic factors were alleged to have been glossed over in the disciplinary procedure. There were insinuations that no efforts were made to investigate factors such as, why there is change in employee behaviour/attitude. Hence, many cases were alleged not to have been properly investigated before arriving at conclusion. Example of such cases include the 1,030 soldiers vs. Cameroon army and Mrs. Ojikutu vs. Bamenda Ministry of Youth and Sports.
The disciplinary procedures in these states were allegedly characterized by discrimination and biased tendencies. The judgments were allegedly pronounced based on the party caucus/ affiliations, religious, ethnic and gender discrimination. Where such sentiments exist they can hamper effective implementation of disciplinary procedure in Civil Service.
Further, the level of integrity of most of the supervisors’ matters a lot in the administration of discipline, the moment the administrator lacks integrity there is every tendency for bias judgment. It is worthy to mention that, most of the cases from the disciplinary tribunals were challenged in the court of law and accurate judgment were given when the cases were later re-visited and reviewed. (The 1030 soldiers v. Cameroonn Army, 2016).
There were suspicions that lapses in the disciplinary procedure could have been due to lack of or improper training of specialists to handle disciplinary cases. Presently, the Civil Service commission delegated its power to the permanent secretary to constitute a Personnel Management Board when dealing with erring staff with a representative from the commission, ministry of establishment and training and the public Service office as members, hence, the most senior officers were picked to be members of this committee based on their level of experience and cannot expertise. This is also suspected to have negative effect on job performance of Civil Servants in Bamenda.
However, disciplinary cases and procedure published or gazetted for consumption of Civil Servants are not in their immediate reach. This could have negative effect on compliance with Civil Service rules and disciplinary procedure. It is not until a Civil Servant is disciplined that he/she will be aware of the procedural rules guiding him/her. This problem of transparency is bound to affect Civil Servants job performance.
These alleged poor handling of disciplinary procedure and cases, glossing over of extra- legalistic factors in disciplinary cases, intrusion of party caucus/ affiliations, biases, improper training and composition of well-trained specialists to handle disciplinary cases and non gazzeting of disciplinary cases are likely to affect job performance in Bamenda.
Therefore, this study is set to investigate the effect of disciplinary procedure in Bamenda on job performance.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The primary objective of this study is to examine the disciplinary procedures and job performance of Civil Servants in Bamenda. The specific objectives of the study are to:
- Identify the approved statutory disciplinary procedures in Bamenda Civil Service.
- Examine the effects of investigation of cases on disciplinary procedure on job performance of Civil Service in Bamenda.
- Appraise the effects of specially trained personnel on effective disciplinary process and job performance in Bamenda
- Investigate the effect of discrimination and biased judgment in disciplinary procedure as it affect disciplinary process and job performance of Civil Servants in Bamenda.
- Appraise the effect of lack of awareness of disciplinary procedure and cases on Job performance of Civil Servants in Bamenda.
1.4 Research Questions.
- What are the approved disciplinary procedures applicable in the Civil Service of Bamenda?
- How has investigation of disciplinary cases affected job performance of Civil Servants in Bamenda?
- What effect will specially trained personnel handling disciplinary cases have on disciplinary procedure and job performance of Civil Servant in Bamenda?
- Will discrimination and biased judgments in disciplinary process affect job performance of Civil Servants in Bamenda?
- Can awareness of disciplinary procedure and cases affect job performance of Civil Servants in Bamenda?