GOV’T MOVES TO ABOLISH DISTRICT SERVICE COMMISSIONS IN UGANDA
By Mulengera Reporters
The Public Service Ministry Permanent Secretary (PS) Catherine Birakwate Musingwire recently interacted with newly elected Members of Parliament (for the 11th Parliament) whom she implored to support the broad legal reforms agenda her Ministry will be spearheading to improve and revolutionize service delivery for the citizens of Uganda. She told them about the NDP III-imposed Public Service Sector Transformation program which must be implemented in the current term of government (2021-2026).
Musingwire decried corruption, incompetence and lack of patriotism as some of the reasons accounting for poor service delivery in especially District Local Governments upcountry. She revealed that, because of underfunding and things like civil servants not wanting to work in hard-to reach or stay areas, of the 1,215 Heads of Department positions available in districts upcountry, only 381 positions are filled. And that most LGs upcountry have only 35% of their HR staffing requirements filled.
She faulted the District Service Commissions, which are mandated to conduct recruitment to fill those positions, for being obscurantist and inward looking whereby they don’t entertain applicants from other districts whoever qualified one might be. That this has condemned many district LGs to having substandard civil servants recruited for positions (if they are ever recruited at all). In most cases, positions remain vacant for years because districts don’t have qualified personnel to take up those positions.
Musingwire says that even when an additional pay of 30% was introduced over and above one’s salary as hard to reach/stay areas allowances, the situation hasn’t improved largely because of the ineptness of the DSCs which now face abolition because they have consistently failed in their work. The Permanent Secretary says urbanization, whereby 10 Cities were recently created, will help to gradually eliminate the problem of excellent civil servants declining posting in some upcountry district LGs on grounds of remoteness and inadequate access to social amenities. Musingwire says they had permitted DSCs to go beyond the district and recruit the best through head-hunting but still not much progress was registered.
With DSCs clearly failing in their mandate to make appropriate recruitment decisions on behalf of the District LGs they are responsible for, Musingwire’s Public Service Ministry is spearheading comprehensive legal reforms paving way for the establishment of the Regional Service Commissions which will be answerable to one central appointing authority based in Kampala. The PS, who, closely working with NPA, is at the center of implementing the restructuring of government, says that through the “restructured regional service commissions,” the GoU will be able to over the ineptness of the DSCs while “promoting the quality of human resources, nationalism and patriotism.”
Musingwire, who Gen Museveni recalled from early retirement a few years ago to come and reorganize the Wandegeya-based Public Service Ministry after the Pension scandal had messed up her predecessor Mzee Jimmy Rwamafa, says they have already submitted to the Attorney General’s chambers a comprehensive document highlighting the legal reforms that must be prioritized for the much-delayed reorganization and realignment of government to be implemented.
And the flamboyant PS’s proposals on the DSCs will excite many because many citizens upcountry have always petitioned the IGG, the office of Col Edith Nakalema and even Courts of law protesting corruption and anomalous decision-making by the DSCs which are always headed and comprised of elderly retired civil servants desperate to expand their pension horizons. They have been accused of syndicate and cronyism whereby they preserve most of the lucrative district service positions for their children and grandchildren or the highest bidder. In some cases, a position will remain unfilled even when it’s very important simply because the Chairman or any other influential DSC member is waiting for his child or girl friend to finish University and acquire the necessary qualifications. (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994, 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org).