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General News Thu, 31 May 2001

Action Movement of Civil Service Association holds demonstration

The Action Movement of the Civil Service Association has demonstrated against "unfair and corrupt practices" by the National Executives of the Civil Servants' Association (CSA).

The march was also to seek the removal from office of Mr Smart Y. A. Chigabatia, Executive Secretary of the CSA.

In a 13-point petition presented to the Minister for Manpower Development and Employment, Mrs Cecilia Bannerman, the movement, among other things, accused Mr. Chigabatia and his executive of lack of transparency and accountability.

The movement also accused the executive of not rendering a statement of account to civil servants and called for a probe of their activities. Mrs Bannerman assured Mr. Edward Kumi, spokesman for the movement, that the ministry would take immediate action on the issue. "We will look into it and see how best we can resolve it," she said.

The Chief Director, Office of the Head of the Civil Service, Kofi Obeng Adofo, who was also given a copy of the petition, disapproved of the demonstration saying that the movement was aware of on-going discussions between his office and the national executive over the points raised. The demonstration began from the office of the CSA through the various ministries. The demonstrators held placards demanding accountability and removal of Mr Chigabatia.

Mr. Kumi told the GNA that although civil servants contribute one per cent of their wages to the CSA, they have gained nothing from the association apart from the CSA building.

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He said the constitution of the Association under which the national executive members are appointed instead of elected makes it impossible for "outsiders" to gain positions in the executive. He condemned the members of the executive, accusing them of coming to power by force about 18 years ago and writing a constitution, which makes their positions almost monarchical.

Mr Chigabatia has denied all the allegations made against him threatening to take legal action against his accusers for saying that he had embezzled funds. He denied taking power by force with other members of the National Executive and said his appointment was made during a national congress of the CSA, which is the way it is always done.

Mr Chigabatia said it is not true that there is no transparency in the dealings of the national executive, adding that all structures in the constitution ensure transparency, and are strictly followed.

On the movement's claim that the executives should be elected instead of appointed he said, "for the association to grow we need positions that are both appointive and elective." He explained that some positions by their nature require that people remain in office without being changed too often.

Asked whether he would resign as demanded by the movement, he said, "If two or three people get up to say they do not want me, it will be undemocratic to concede to what they say." Mr Chigabatia said as a person who respects democracy, he would be prepared to step down if the congress of the CSA finds him unfit to remain in his position.

Source: .
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