Transparency in the recruitment and selection of workers in local councils in Lusaka province.

Thumbnail Image
Chifunda, Agness
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
The University of Zambia
In the recent past, attempts have been made to improve service delivery by local councils in Zambia. These include the re-introduction of unified local Government Service Commission and passing of Local Government Amendment Act of 2010. These attempts aimed at improving services being delivered to the local communities such as solid waste management, housing, water supply, sanitation, roads, transport, social care, education, environmental protection, cultural and leisure services. However, there have been pressing challenges leading to failure to promote social inclusion in all spheres of service delivery by the same local councils. Councils were reportedly facing serious difficulties to meet the expectations of people with regards to service delivery. This has been evident from the piles of uncollected garbage in residential areas and markets, unplanned settlements, erratic water supply, poor sewerage facilities, failure to maintain street lights and poorly maintained roads, among others. One attributing factor has been associated with lack of qualified staff. Therefore, the general objective of this research is to examine the levels of transparency in recruitment and selection of workers in local councils in Lusaka Province. Specifically, the research sought to investigate and establish the levels of transparency in recruitment of workers in local councils and identify and describe the extent to which transparency is promoted in the selection of local council workers. The research approach for this research was a mixed method approach. It mixed both qualitative and quantitative research approaches. The sample size for this research was 134 respondents. The sample consisted of nine key informants from Local Government Service Commission, Lusaka City Council, Chongwe Municipal Council and Chilanga Town Council. Furthermore, 125 council employees from the three local councils employed in the past two years were included in the sample. The key informants were selected using purposive sampling method. The workers from the councils were selected using multi-stage sampling method. The findings show that, council workers are recruited by both LGSC and local councils. LGSC is mandated to recruit Division I, II and III council workers who are mainly professionals and specialised employees. Local councils, on the other hand, are only mandated to recruit Classified Daily Employees (CDEs) (also known as General Workers). The research also established that recruitment of council workers involves the participation of other government departments such as the Police, Department of Labour, Anti-Corruption Commission and people from the professional bodies so as to enhance transparency. However, the study reveals that the level of nepotism in the recruitment process is quite high, with almost half of the workers (38.4 percent) having been told about the job vacancies by their friends or relatives. The study also reveals that to a large extent the required steps of selection are followed but the level of transparency in that process is low. This is illustrated by a majority of the workers (60 percent) who said that they were not satisfied with the selection process. The main reasons cited for their dissatisfaction are corruption, political interference and nepotism in the selection process. Furthermore, the study reveals that the process of selecting workers in local councils goes through a number of stages and different methods are applied in this process. The processes include short listing, interviews, aptitude tests and verification of qualifications of the selected applicants. The research finds that both LGSC and local councils conduct interviews to recruit council workers. This was supported by a larger percentage of workers who indicated attending job interviews to get a job in the council. The research also reveals that both LGSC and councils seldom conduct aptitude tests to select council workers. Furthermore, the research established that both LGSC and local councils face challenges in selecting council workers. The challenges include: limited financial resources to conduct aptitude tests and interviews, political interference, corruption and bribes from job applicants, and also dealing with thousands and thousands of applications which make short listing and selection process tedious and hectic for the officials, among others. Based on these findings, the research makes the following recommendations: there is need to decentralise and empower councils with authority to recruit and select division I, II and III workers so as to enhance transparency. To avoid abuse of authority, committees involving officials from different government departments can be established at district level to spearhead the recruitment and selection process. There is also need for LGSC and councils to be conducting aptitude tests to enhance transparency and possibility of selecting best candidates. The LGSC and councils can also be engaging specialised external agencies during recruitment and selection process of council workers so as to enhance transparency.
Public service employment--Zambia. , Labor--Zambia. , Labor policy--Zambia. , Personnel management. , Industrial relations--Zambia.