Ghana’s Supreme Court Pronounces on Political Rights of Civil Servants
The Supreme Court of Ghana in the case of Civil and Local Government Staff Association of Ghana v. the Attorney-General & 2 Others has held that a member of the civil service or local government cannot contest for elections, other than local government elections, or hold a political party position.
In the unanimous view of the 9-member panel of the Supreme Court, excessive partisanship in the civil service or local government affects the anonymity and neutrality principle that is required for the civil service to function effectively.
The Court further noted: “At this stage of our socio-political development when political discourse is all pervasive and rivalry can easily trigger a whole range of reactions, including even violence, it would be most unhealthy to countenance civil and local government servants who publicly proclaim their leanings in the public space.”
The Supreme Court, however, noted that a civil servant or local government official could contest local government elections (since local government elections are considered as apolitical). The only caveat is that that civil servant or local government official cannot remain a member of the civil service or local government after being sworn in because of the possibility of a conflict of interest. The Court quizzed “how can the person responsible for the collection of fees in the District be part of the membership that fixed the fees in the first place, and when issues of accountability arise, who will ‘police the police’ as it were?”
The present action was instituted after one Alexander Hedidor, an Assistant Director at the Prestea-Huni Valley District Assembly was interdicted by the office of the Head of Civil Service for filing his nomination to contest the primaries of the National Democratic Congress. His conduct was said to have been in breach of the Code of Conduct of the Civil Service and Local Government Service.
 Writ No.J1/16/2016 (Judgment delivered on 14 June 2017)