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CIVIL SERVANTS IN LAMWO WARNED AGAINST COMMUTING TO WORK FROM KITGUM

By Mulengera Reporters

Lamwo Resident District Commissioner, Geoffrey Osborn Oceng, has expressed concern over civil servants who still commute from Kitgum district.  Lamwo District started operating on July 1st, 2009. However, thirteen years later, the civil servants still commute daily from Kitgum, which is approximately 66 kilometers away.

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Oceng said that all civil servants should effective 5 July have acquired accommodation in Lamwo. He said that offices always open beyond the official time of 8:00 am as stipulated in the Ministry of Public Service standing order. Lamwo is one of the districts in East Acholi which suffers frequent cattle raids, given its location at the border with South Sudan.

Oceng, reveals for the past few weeks he has noticed that there are assignments that should be done at night, especially on matters of security are not done because the responsible personnel is always away in Kitgum.

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Oceng said it is difficult to invite potential entrepreneurs to the district, because even the locals themselves have acquired plots within the Town Council, and are using them to plant crops.  A number of workers say they cannot stay at the Town Council because there are limited accommodation facilities. Several meetings are also done in Kitgum because Lamwo has very few hotels and conference facilities.

However, Oceng said the locals have to build rentals first, so as to attract other people to go and do business there, including those who hail from Lawmo but are doing business outside the district. This he said will also enhance the revenue of the district.

Matthew Akera Okoya, the vice-chairperson of Lamwo district, said they had discussed at the executive level a policy statement to come during the budget approval, but the chaos surrounding the budget approval affected its pronouncement.

Okoya agrees that the majority of the workers, especially heads of departments stay far from their duty station, and sometimes partners come to pay courtesy visits and don’t find specific leaders they want, and even potential ones get a bad impression.  Okoya reveals the district has also been incurring high expenditures on fuel, especially during this time when fuel prices keep rising.

Okoya however notes that there are challenges that made the workers keep residing in Kitgum, such as banking services and fuel stations. He said they have now decided that workers should reside in any sub-county within Lamwo because they can now easily get fuel.

Lilly Amic, the LCV female councilor for Madi Opei Sub County and Madi Opei Town Council, says that if the civil servants reside near their workplace, it will develop the district fast, as they will spend within the district and give the electorate time to interact with the leaders on developmental issues. //Cue in: “Kong bene weko…”

Sisto Oyet, the LCV Chairperson of Lamwo said they will hold a meeting on Tuesday, on the issue. Oyet said they had earlier on resolved that by July every civil servant should be stationed in the district, or use their own fuel to commute from Kitgum and make sure they arrive on time.

The Uganda Public Service Standing Orders; the roles, obligations, and conduct of public officers stipulates that government officials’ working hours are Monday to Friday from 8:00 am- 12:45 pm and 2:00 pm -5:00 pm, but the schedule is not always followed, as civil servants reach their duty stations late due to the distance they cover to and from work, daily.

Some also say the tendency of traveling from another district daily is affecting the performance of the district in many sectors.

Christine Akumu, a resident of Padibe Town Council, said it is hard to get quick services in the district because the officials who are supposed to supervise work such as in health units and school are always either absent or report very late to work.

According to the 2020 Local Government Performance Assessment, Lamwo district was named among the worst-performing districts in Uganda, coming at number 130 out of the 134 districts that were operational as of July 2019.

The district scored only 20 on cross-cutting issues. Under education and health, the district scored only 27 and 13 percent, respectively. -URN (For comments on this story, get back to us on 0705579994 [whatsapp line], 0779411734 & 0200900416 or email us at mulengeranews@gmail.com).

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