HOW KCCA HUMAN RESOURCES DIRECTOR RICHARD LULE BUILT POWERBASE INSIDE CITY HALL
By Mulengera Reporters
This news website has obtained credible information profiling Richard Lule as one of the most powerful Directors at KCCA. This is partly because he is one of the longest-serving director position employees at City Hall the others being Harriet Mudondo, Andrew Kitaka (substantively engineering) and Director internal audit who is Mr. Bwire. In the case of Lule, the official-unmarried man from Kyaggwe first came to City Hall as a consultant in 2011 to help pioneer ED Jeniffer Musisi set up her transition team. It was Jenifer Kaggwa (aka JK), her former Director and boss at Centenary Bank that lured Lule to switch to City Hall. At Centenary he was merely one of the many junior staffers working in HR section. Indeed, this same JK had a lot to do with his ascendance to his current position as Director HR at KCCA where he oversees more than 1,500 employees.
And here is how JK authored his ascendance to the position. Being one whose word Musisi took for gospel truth, JK convinced the then ED that her interests wouldn’t be as secure if someone else replaced her as head HR. Musisi complied and even when Lule, a Makerere graduate teacher, could ordinarily not have qualified, he got the job very easily overcoming many others that were menacingly eyeing the same role. At Musisi’s prompting, President Museveni instructed Public Service Ministry PS Catherine Musingwire to waive the requirement of the KCCA HR Director having to possess a degree in either social sciences or HR as the basic minimum so that the much favored Lule would have a smooth sail. That exactly is what happened and some managers at City Hall have never stopped grumbling questioning how a mere graduate teacher, with a Makerere Masters in Organizational Studies, would that easily scoop such a juicy position at an institution on whose HR practices other GoU entities are supposed to benchmark on. The other desirable that was waived to let Lule in is that (by practice) requiring such HR head to be a stably married man with children. Supporters say this status has actually enabled Lule excel in his role because of the resultant concentration at the work place.
BUILDING POWER BASE
Despite being juicy, the chair hasn’t been an easy one for Lule who over time has had to learn how to become thick-skinned while surviving in a complex operating environment. This has required creating alliances and partnerships inside City Hall and outside of it. At the work place, his strongest allies include Ag ED Andrew Kitaka, Janette Luzinda (manager training), much-dreaded George Okello and a one Eleanor. His other loyal confidant is Faith Ahura, an experienced office administrator inside City Hall. Despite past inquiries by the IGG regarding the Shs6bn lubricants deals, George Okello remains Lule’s very efficient righthand man when it comes to cracking the whip on errant drivers and fuel coordination via Total Jinja Road station which has the tender to 100% supply all KCCA’s fuel requirements.
There was also a one Jibrin, a powerful lady who years back curiously fled to the US (never to come back) on hearing rumors the IGG was querying into some fuel transactions in which a whistle blower had mentioned her name. With such well-positioned allies, Lule has always been sure to neutralize any uprising from within the City Hall.
Again, by some coincidence, during the years of his productive service at KCCA, many big people have had their children or close relatives and spouses get gainfully employed at City Hall where the lowest paid employee (officer rank) earns Shs3.7m per month. We have in our possession a list of would-be noise-making MPs whose close persons are stably working at KCCA. That clearly means they would think twice before raising any scrutiny questions that can potentially make people at the HR department uncomfortable (we shall subsequently publish lists of these MPs and how their people got jobs).
Yet that isn’t all. There are a good number of Permanent Secretaries whose children have joined KCCA for employment since 2011. One of these children belonging to a powerful PS is called Julian who until recently worked as Supervisor in the Clients Care unit. She only quit after getting a better remunerated offer elsewhere. This unit was strategically created by Musisi (on advice of a one Ouma) in 2014 when she badly wanted to appease anti-Erias Lukwago councilors who eventually impeached the Lord Mayor and expected to be rewarded in many ways including being permitted to recommend their own people for jobs in the same unit.
There is also one of the former KCCA Ministers whose close relative called Esther continues to gainfully be employed in this same Client Care unit which the KCCA management has continued to use to appease would-be trouble causers in Cabinet and Parliament by letting their inappropriately qualified persons get employed there. There is also a former MP and powerful Legal Advisor whose spouse Berna S instantly got a job in KCCA’s architectural services unit whose existence many don’t appreciate on grounds there are no building constructions that KCCA undertakes at the moment.
RESPECTING THE MIGHTY
Richard Lule has also been careful not to step on the toes of the mighty to the extent that even when the Public Service Commission queried and demanded ousting of inadequately qualified persons employed as temporary workers, nothing was done. Movers in the HR department rightly know that this could lead to the start of problems that could end in their disgraceful exit from the powerful offices. This explains why complaints of pass degree-holders having jobs in KCCA aren’t entirely unheard of. For starters, the Public Service rules require that he or she who has a pass degree can never get public service jobs but in KCCA there are waivers enabling hundreds of inadequately qualified persons to lucratively hold forte. It’s not uncommon for the children of the mighty to join in as interns and become supervisors (overseeing their would-be seniors) in just months. Not that he acquiesces to this anomaly but Richard Lule knows the consequences of raising a finger or objecting to such things.
There are highly qualified seasoned HR practitioners that would ideally have emboldened Lule to object to some of these anomalies but they are simply sidelined and pushed from decision-making processes in favor of temporary staffers. The examples include Abel and Rosette who respectively serve as Deputy Director HR for Administration and HR. Rosette, considered by many to be more suitable than even her director, previously worked with NFA as Head HR whereafter she got competitively recruited by PSC to hold the position of Town Clerk.
She briefly worked at Nakawa Division before shining again at subsequent PSC interviews beating many other Lule confidants including Janette Luzinda (who was made manager training).
When Court directed immediate absorption of competitively recruited employees who Musisi had blocked in favor of her unqualified temps, Lule excelled at appeasing his management colleagues by presiding over a controversial restricting process that resulted into roles being split. This ensured the temps that should ideally have exited City Hall stayed put and, in most cases, actually remained more powerful than competent people PSC had competitively recruited.
As they took office, the PSC recruited staffers were also paid Shs3bn which Court awarded them in salaries which they had missed as Musisi blocked them. Many thought Lule would be politically punished for this financial loss, on grounds he didn’t adequately advise management as the technical person, but nothing like that ever happened. Anticipating job opportunities for their people, some of the City Hall Councilors that should have blown the whistle (in return for media publicity) were the most active defending this anomalous way of acting. There are some within KCCA management (like Physical Planning Director Moses Atwine) that were initially uncomfortable with this restructuring of roles but they were eventually prevailed over into silence and Lule once again got away with it as ever.
By ensuring Musisi’s proteges and close people continue their gainful employment at KCCA, Lule has appeased many old-timers hence his prolonged stay in the role. Some of Musisi’s key people include Procurement department’s Annie Lwanga, Joselyn (a PA to Doreen Atuhairwe) and Legal Directorate’s Isaac Sempebwa. Despite being under the temporary staff category, these continue enjoying life at City Hall including lucrative trips abroad. There is also a one Nicolas who is closely connected to Lule’s mentor JK and gainfully worked at KCCA until he got better prospects at HFB in Kololo. Yet that isn’t all about how Richard Lule continues being powerful. Those who hate him have gradually been giving up after realizing that not even IGG operatives can ever into anything like inquiring into his curious HR decisions anticipating potential jobs there for their own people.
The vastness of the KCCA staff SACCO, stretching into hundreds of billions, is another source of clout for Richard Lule because the managers of it directly fall under his supervision. The SACCO, whose management style many junior staffers continue to be uncomfortable with, is into real estate projects in Gayaza, Namugongo Sonde and other Kampala neighborhoods. Huge chunks of land are purchased and then plots are split for staff to buy in installments. But they are concerns that some big people freely access these dimes (exclusively banked with DFCU) and borrow it sometimes at zero interest. Staff have previously petitioned Afande Edith Nakalema inviting her to inquire into why they are made to buy plots at a cost that is higher than the prevailing market prices.
Closely working with his loyal man George Okello (who narrowly missed becoming the Deputy Director Admin), Richard Lule also handles many other things under his docket including fleet management. The fleet includes KCCA garbage trucks, water bousers, tractors, KCCA FC buses, coasters and posh cars for the top City Hall bosses. Imagine being in charge of the fueling and sometimes mantainance of all these vehicles. It naturally comes with a lot of clout further explaining why Richard Lule isn’t your ordinary Director at City Hall.
He also handles staff training and determination of who goes for which juicy trip and in most cases his decisions aren’t questionable. All this gives him lots of leverage. He is also the man to implement the PSC directive requiring all staff with pass degrees to exit KCCA latest by 30th June this very year. This naturally makes him the man the mighty must go to lobbying lenient treatment for their own people. In returns this deepens Lule’s connections in the political echelons-both opposition and ruling NRM. It’s the reason majority councilors consider him a red line that shouldn’t be crossed.
Then something recently happened and it demonstrated to many how fearless Richard Lule has grown inside City Hall. It related to close to 600 employees who claim their salary has been chopped since 2011 with each losing at least Shs400,000 per month. Through their lawyer Nathan Osinde, the aggrieved staffers have since obtained a representative order from court permitting 10 of them to represent the rest in a potentially very embarrassing suit against their employer KCCA. When they served KCCA management with the mandatory notice of intention to sue, the employees expected the HR Director to panic and call them for talks. He didn’t and instead a meeting that management convened to calm them down ended in more acrimony after the Head HR contemptuously told them this was mere error that can be administratively corrected once they back off litigation plans. They refused and Osinde has since continued preparations for protracted court battles that would once again cost KCCA a fortune. Insiders close to the matter say the deprived employees are considering demanding over Shs40bn in damages and missed salary entitlements.
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