December 19, 2014

Misuse of Government Vehicles Must Stop’

Red Pepper in partnership with Uganda Debt Network (UDN) has recently been running a campaign codenamed ‘misuse of government vehicles Part II’ in an effort to reduce the vice that greatly affects service delivery.

car-gvt

UDN is a non-governmental organization aiming to “promote and advocate for poor and marginalized people to participate in influencing poverty-focused policies, demand for their rights and monitor service delivery to ensure prudent, accountable and transparent resource generation and utilization.”

In our concluding edition, we reproduce key messages from government institutions that are taking a step to curb the problem. In this edition also, we are bring you ministry of transport’s take on the issue as well opinions from members of the public on misuse of government vehicles.

Minister of Works and Transport, Eng. James Abraham Byandala

“The campaign has done well to expose the misuse of the government vehicles and by now, any civil servant with proper judgment should have learnt something. No civil servant with common sense would wish to be the next culprit being published among those misusing government vehicles.

The accounting officers should ride on the back of this campaign and become stricter on how these vehicles are used. It maybe a complicated case that also involves the proposed review of the take-home packages (salaries) for civil servants, but that’s for the Ministry of Public Service to handle.

As people head upcountry for the festive season, each civil servant holding a government vehicle should refer to their standing orders for guidance on usage. There is a category of officials entitled to have these vehicles but the others should ensure to seek permission first before they drive away.

Festive seasons are dangerous, don’t over speed, respect traffic rules and regulations and road markings. And preferably, don’t drive at night.”

Dr. Steven Kasiima, Head of Traffic Police

Kasiima says that there is a public standing order against individuals who abuse government cars.

“It (misuse of government vehicles) is condemned and handled according to the law,” Kasiima, adding government vehicles must follow traffic rules and if they do not, they are punished even more than an ordinary civilian by paying a fine or dismissed.

He added: “As far as complying with the law is concerned every government car must follow the rules and regulations except for the official convoy vehicles.” He urged the officers to have confidence so that they can stop any vehicle irrespective of the driver or vehicle number plate.

“..We are weeding out the incompetent officers to remain with those who are bold and confident,” he said.

Peter Kaujju, KCCA Spokesperson

Kaujju said Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has put in place operation systems to ensure government properties are protected. He added that Red Pepper/ UDN campaign didn’t only remind KCCA officials but the entire government of its obligation to protect its properties.

“This campaign has worked a lot for us and indeed it has created change because all of our officers are aware of the implications if they are caught on the wrong side of the law especially regarding this matter (misuse of  government vehicles),” Kaujju said in an interview.

He said some of their officers had been prosecuted after being caught by our cameras misusing government vehicles though he couldn’t give actual figures or names as he asked for some time to consult the prosecution unit.

Johnson Mutungwanda, Assistant CAO in charge of Health and Administration, Kasese district

He said since Red Pepper started publishing pictures of government vehicles being misused, district officials and drivers “have changed for the better in fear of being photographed”. Mutungwanda added that they have authorized the police and sensitized the public to impound and arrest any vehicle found outside the gazetted parking premises after official working hours of 5:30 PM.

He said most officers who drive government vehicles without drivers, “sometimes have bad behaviors they are hiding from the public and fear drivers may expose them.”

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