Power and Politics

Govt says at least 1,427 couples reunited, warns of sanctions against cohabiting for sake of transfer


Government says at least 1, 427 married couples reunification applications in the civil service have been processed since the programme started in 2022.

In December 2021, a Presidential directive emphasised that married couples working in the public service, judiciary and local government services should not be separated due to transfers.

On January 11, 2022, Cabinet Office issued Circular No. 5391 to bring this directive to the attention of public servants in ministries, provinces and spending agencies.

Addressing a media briefing in Lusaka on Saturday, Secretary to Cabinet, Oliver Kalabo, said a total of 5,672 applications employees in specific sectors were received since 2022

“Since the directive’s pronouncement, government received a total of 5,672 applications from employees in the specified sectors. As of September 30, 2023, government has processed 1,427 of these requests, representing a 25 percent application processing rate,” Kalabo said

He said the process had encountered a number of challenges that included the scarcity of positions in rural areas, inadequate information in applications and swapping requests from urban to rural areas.

Kalabo said government was encouraging employees to stick to their choices, as swapping between urban and rural areas was challenging due to position availability and promotions.

“For married couples making applications, government asks for patience as the process might take time, considering position availability. Additionally, consider the possibility of your spouse joining you in a different location,” he said.

Kalabo said cohabiting just for the sake of transferring to urban areas was discouraged and disciplinary measures are in place.

He said employees should be genuine and contented in their service locations, avoiding manipulation for transfer purposes.

Read More: Govt urged to help reunite couples in civil service forced to live apart due to transfers

“Commissions, ministries, provinces, and spending agencies are committed to reuniting couples when positions align.
Reuniting couples is a continuous process, following Government instructions and regulations,” Kalabo said.

He added that positions for reunified couples were being prioritised in recruitment exercises and all offices were encouraged to follow the provisions of the Circular on government office instructions, particularly Part 1, Paragraph 15.

“Your commitment to serving where needed is appreciated, and government will continue to work toward reuniting couples while ensuring fairness and adhering to Government guidelines. Stay patient and stay genuine in your service,” Kalabo said.

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