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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Role Ambiguity in African Public Management: Lessons from Zambian Permanent Secretaries
Author:Lungu, Gatian F.
Year:1998
Periodical:African Administrative Studies
Issue:51
Pages:23-37
Language:English
Geographic term:Zambia
Subjects:civil service
government departments
Politics and Government
Abstract:A preliminary analysis of the office of permanent secretary, with special reference to the Zambian public service, suggests that incumbents face considerable role ambiguity as they strive to provide managerial leadership in portfolio ministries and provinces. Their appointment by politicians to offices that are expected to play nonpartisan roles has proved problematic both in terms of tenure and performance. The case of Zambia clearly demonstrates that postindependence African governments have not adequately acknowledged and supported a civil service purged of political patronage, and that the conventions that surround the office of the permanent secretary in Great Britain have not evolved sufficiently on the continent. In addition, the constitutional responsibility over ministries/departments assigned to elected politicians creates considerable difficulties for elected officials in their attitude and behaviour towards the office of the permanent secretary. It is not clear whether the latter is effectively the ministry's/department's chief executive or a clerk of the minister. The Zambian case also indicates that the permanent secretary is not functionally responsible for accounts, purchases and personnel in his/her ministry/department. Other offices dictate what portfolio permanent secretaries do in these areas. Bibliogr., note.