In a democracy such as Somaliland, the government comprises ; the legislation ( two Houses of Parliament ), the Executive ( the President and his cabinet of ministers ), and the Judiciary in charge of interpretation of the law- the rule of law. Public administration is often considered as the fourth branch of government since it is one of the largest sectors of a modern government. Administration is the implementation of public policies.
In general, public administration or public service ( or bureaucracy ) consists of local government bodies, security and armed forces, public corporations and the civil service. This article will be confined to consider the role of the civil service which is the most prominent among the public services.
In most modern states, the civil services is a special profession in which highly trained administrative and executive officials are employed in ministries and diplomatic service to provide administrative support for the operation of the government machinery. The rôle of the civil service is all the more important to promote social, economic and political development of a country. It is established to carry out government policies and programs and provide services including education, healthcare, water, roads and bridges, electricity and other vital infrastructures to the public.
Some of the most important functions of the civil services also include ; to advise government ministers on policy formulation of government policy and being responsible at the same time for such policy implementation. The civil services should always maintain an impartial and nonpolitical attitude towards the general public and give priority to the common good and national interests of the country.
Civil Service Principles
Generally speaking, the civil service is established on certain principles including, among other things, a system of hierarchy and seniority, and division of labour. In its hierarchical structure, offices are graded and ranked in which the executive or minister, together with senior officials, is entrusted with the responsibility to oversee the work and personnel structure of each ministry.
In division of labour, each official is held responsible for a certain area and has to work according tor rules and regulations of the administration that outline his duty and responsibilities. Officials should have skilled training that prepares them for their jobs. Furthermore appointments should be made on the basis of standards of merit and personnel requirements of the civil service.
Tenure of office is another important principle which is to offer civil servants long term services despite government and leadership changes. Tenure of office is vital for the confidence and job security of the civil servants, the continuity and stability of the administration and general
development of the country. The application of such administrative principles has many advantages and could lead to the future development of professional and permanent career civil service system which is more efficient and capable in the achievement of Somaliland’s national goals.
In the past, following its independence in 1960,Somaliland had inherited from Great Britain a prestigious civil service ; consisting of a cadre of civil servants who had been trained for high posts under British rule. It had played a significant rôle in Somaliland’s independence. However, in the course of its union with Somalia, the Somaliland civil service system was, unfortunately abolished. In addition, as result of the long political strife and civil war ( 1981-1991 ) between Somaliland and Somalia, all government administrative institutions weakened and eventually collapsed. Despite these difficulties Somaliland was successful in rebuilding its administrative services. It was wise, subsequently after 1991, for the government to re-establish the public service. Both the Ministry of Labout and the Civil Service Training Institute in Hargeisa played a vital role in the reconstruction of the Somaliland administration.
The Ministry of Labour and the Training Institute under the present leadership of Marwo Hinda Hersi Qani and Mudane Shermarke Gaelle respectively and its former managers have done excellent work in these institutions. However, despite such achievements, there are still administrative weaknesses that could be corrected by reorganization and regrouping of present separate forms of administration and
recruitment methods of the ministries . Standards of merit and personnel requirements of the government should have priority to ensure against political favoritism and pressures and to strengthen skills in the civil service.
Creation of Ministry for the Civil Service
At this juncture, when Somaliland plans to achieve social and economic development, it’s practical to set up, like many other countries, a ministry for the civil service. The administrative structure of the government should be reconsidered and tailored towards development administration ; to effectively use human and material resources to achieve national goals of the country. These tasks of development should be carried out efficiently by such ministry. Periodic reviews and evaluation will enhance the adminstrative and management capacity of the civil service and other institutions.
This ministry’s responsibilities will also include, among other things, to promote efficiency, accountability and integrity in the public services, to advise government on criteria for employment to public offices and policy formulation within the service as well as to adopt rules and regulations.It will be responsible for promotions, transfers, conditions of service of staff and disciplinary matters ( with the right of appeal for civil servants where there is an abuse of power ). It would be responsible, in addition, to rewrite the administrative laws of the country, civil service law and code of conduct for all public servants.
Such ministry will replace the old civil service
commission which is out of order now. Equally, the training Institute should be strengthened by seconding more senior experts to provide extensive and intensive training programs not only to middle level officials but also to the senior public service. A modern and professional administration in which investment is made,will expand opportunities and attract qualified candidates from inside and outside the country. It’s acknowledged that no country without a modern civil service will make much progress.
During his recent successful tour to the eastern provinces of the country at the end of November, 2018 , in which the people of Somaliland received him very warmly and enthusiastically, the president, Musa Behi Abdi, spoke frequently and eloquently about the importance of the rôle of institutions in the country and challenges the country faces. In both, at Erigavo University and at the Berbera Navy Academy, he emphasized the need to improve the administration and urged educational institutions in the country to educate and train the Somaliland youth for future management and administrative posts. These should be followed and made a government policy.
Mohamoud Abdi Daar
Somaliland Representative in the EU.