MP Atima calls for Labor mobility in Local Gov’t


MP Atima presents a point as Madi Okollo District Woman MP, Joan Okia looks on during the PAC LG sitting in Arua on Wednesday. PHOTO BY ANDREW COHEN AMVESI

ARUA | Pepper News –  Arua Central Division Member of Parliament (MP), Jackson Atima Lee Buti has appealed to the central government to consider moving local government workers from one district to another.

According to Atima, cases of corruption and insubordination are common in the country because of recruiting ‘sons and daughters of the soil’ into public offices.

He said, as a result, the technical staff under the local government setting tend to undermine Chief Administration Officers (CAOs) who are usually not natives of particular districts.

Atima, also a member of the Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) made the appeal during PAC local government sitting in Arua after George Owanyi, the Arua RDC observed that many CAOs are facing a hard time in performing their duties because of some untouchable sons and daughters of the soil who are occupying technical offices in districts.

Owanyi made the observation in reference to the recent arrest of Maracha district officials over alleged corruption and the failed struggle by Jude Mark Bukenya, the Arua district CAO to ensure that Israel Ecoku, the Arua Principal Human Resource Officer (son of the soil) puts documents in order. Ecoku was later on Wednesday arrested by PAC.

“Today it has come prominently that some sons and daughters of the soil are the ones that cause a lot of problems. Actually, the Principal Human Resource Officer who has been handed over to police is an indigenous person of Arua district. And from what the RDC raised, it compelled me to think that if the center sends local government staff here, our duty as politicians is to support them so that service delivery can be well effected,” Atima said.

“What has been happening here is that I’m the son of soil and I’m untouchable… was now revealed by the behavior of the Principal Human Resource Officer of Arua who adamantly refused to be supervised by his boss. As a result, Arua district actually performed worst in this accountability exercise by PAC. Now my recommendation is to allow mobility of labor in local government. This should be across the country,” Atima advised.

He said the decentralization which the government thought is the best is instead doing disservice to the ordinary people.

“So, people should be allowed to work anywhere in this country; whether I’m a son of Arua, I should be posted to Kasese, Kanungu or Karamoja. These things of the district service commission recruiting people internally within the region or within the district is bringing a lot of problems. So, my recommendation to Parliament and also to the ministry of local government and that of public service is that people should be recruited and transferred anywhere so that there is no headache to the top leadership just the way the CAO of Arua was facing,” said Atima.

When contacted over MP Atima’s concern, Martine Ojara Mapenduzi, the PAC local government chairperson said: “We have observed with great concern the manner in which some people conduct themselves in this city, it is a common thing not only in Arua. There are people who come from this region and sometimes they think they are too big to be supervised; they are indisciplined. This concern has been raised and we have taken the suggestion, so we will present a report to Parliament so that we find the best way for people employed by government to work well irrespective of where they come from.”

He said such indiscipline cripples service delivery.  Mapenduzi stressed that as a committee of Parliament, they are not going to allow such people to ruin the morale of other well-intended Ugandans in Arua.

“We have seen there are people from this region who are extremely committed to serving the people of the region, we want to encourage them but there are also individuals who are extremely indisciplined; they abuse their offices, they want to do things with impunity, we will deal with them and we are not going to give them space,” Mapenduzi promised.

“So, the suggestion given by MP Atima is a suggestion that we think will work. We will take it up and present to Parliament and we will have to look at how we can hold the people government employs accountable but also if you are too used to Arua, maybe you need to go and try elsewhere, so those are some of the things we have picked,” Mapenduzi added.

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