Minister-Permanent Secretary Relationships: Lessons from Zimbabwe’s Government of national Unity

Tawanda Zinyama, Joseph Tinarwo

Abstract


Public administration is carried out through the public service. Public administration is an instrument of the State which is expected to implement the policy decisions made from the political and legislative processes. The rationale of this article is to assess the working relationships between ministers and permanent secretaries in the Government of National Unity in Zimbabwe. The success of the Minister depends to a large degree on the ability and goodwill of a permanent secretary who often has a very different personal or professional background and whom the minster did not appoint. Here lies the vitality of the permanent secretary institution. If a Minister decides to ignore the advice of the permanent secretary, he/she may risk of making serious errors. The permanent secretary is the key link between the democratic process and the public service. This article observed that the mere fact that the permanent secretary carries out the political, economic and social interests and functions of the state from which he/she derives his/her authority and power; and to which he/she is accountable,  no permanent secretary is apolitical and neutral to the ideological predisposition of the elected Ministers. The interaction between the two is a political process. Contemporary administrator requires complex team-work and the synthesis of diverse contributions and view-points.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5296/jpag.v4i1.5061

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