President Museveni, Chief Justice Hail Dr Bigirimana as he Launches Fifth book ‘Unchained’

Dr Pius Bigirimana'S Book Unchained

The Office of the President’s auditorium came to life on Friday afternoon with published works of Judiciary Permanent Secretary/Secretary to the Judiciary, Dr Pius Bigirimana, dotted on the side-walks.

FROM LEFT: Deputy Chief Justice (DCJ) Richard Buteera ,, Alfonse Chigamoy Owiny – Dollo and Dr Pius Bigirimana

The set up was ideal for the launch of Dr Bigirimana’s fifth title, ‘Unchained: A public servant with a private sector mindset’.

The event drew Judicial Officers from all court levels, several senior government officials including technocrats and politicians.

When the Chief Justice, Alfonse Chigamoy Owiny – Dollo arrived at about 3:00pm, everybody rose to their feet and the anthems were played. This was followed by a prayer by the author’s son.

In his message which was delivered by the Chief Justice, President Yoweri  Museveni tasked the public servants to serve people’s interests saying it  is their core mandate.The President elaborated that the role of public  servants is to serve the interests of the people of Uganda and not foreign  or imperial or selfish interests.

“Their interests include development,  peace, wealth creation, market access, education, health among others and  these are the legitimate interests of the people of Uganda regardless of  tribe, religion, gender, age, colour, region among others,” President Museveni noted.

The Head of State noted that in order to fulfill the people’s aspirations, the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) anchored four principles and these are patriotism, Pan Africanism, social-economic transformation and  democracy.

“I commend Pius Bigirimana for sharing his insights on how to improve public service delivery. The yardstick for measuring relevance of the public service is the degree to which it is responsive to the interests of the population,” the President noted.

The book, which is Dr Bigirimana’s fifth book, can be reduced to one sentence; a public servant can deliver best possible quality of public service if he or she takes on a Private Sector mindset.

“My main argument in the book is that at the individual level, there is a lack of conceptual clarity to have a deep understanding of one’s work. For example, if you are a permanent secretary, do you know the work of the permanent secretary? If you are a judge, do you know that you are a judge?

That’s why I am saying induction must be done for all public servants,” the PS/SJ said.

In his remarks, the Chief Justice described Dr Bigirimana as a big asset for the Judiciary, who has aided its transformation.

“Bigirimana is the only non-judicial officer who is part of the Judiciary Top Management…He is a great asset to the Judiciary because he has understood what the Judiciary is and what is required or necessary to move it forward,” CJ Owiny – Dollo said.

Dr Pius Bigirimana’S Book Unchained

The head of the Judiciary pointed out that it is because of Dr Bigirimana’s tireless efforts that the Judiciary budget was enhanced to more than Shs375b.

“We have come a long away, our budget for many years had never gone beyond Sh200b but because we were able to put a case to the Head of State, by one stroke, the budget was raised to about Shs375b and because of n this we have been able to embark on the journey of transforming the Judiciary landscape in Uganda,” he said.

The Chief Justice shared that the main agenda for the Judiciary is to afford the citizens access to justice in a timely manner.

“We have recruited hundreds of judicial officers in the hope that in a couple of years or so, we should have a Chief Magistrate in every district, a Magistrate Grade One in very constituency.

He applauded Dr Bigirimana for not being a desk officer as many public servants do, which has created a paradigm shift in the Judiciary from the traditional way of conducting business.

“When he talks about unchained, he is talking about a paradigm shift in handling public affairs. I want to  thank you because you have overseen the construction of the appellate court and I am very sure this will be benchmarked for a very long time because once it is complete, it will show that it is possible to utilize public funds and there is value for those funds. You will be remembered for this,” the CJ said.

Adding that Dr Bigirimana should be remembered for more than anything else for being a whistleblower against corruption.Justice Owiny – Dollo encouraged people to write books saying authors never die as they remain points of reference for decades.

The Head of Public Service, Ms Lucy Nakyobe, who wrote the foreword of the book, commended Dr Bigirimana for writing it saying it delivers a message to public servants that they can deliver quality services provided they can tune their minds to those driving the private sector.

“If you read this book, you find this is possible. I therefore, call upon fellow public servants to read this book such that we can borrow a leaf and drive the public sector in that line,” she said.

Ms Nakyobe said Dr Bigirimana was better suited to write the book because he is a career public servant with vast experience of more than 40-years.

“By virtue of what he has gone through, he stood at a vantage position to write this book,” she noted. She pointed out that the book makes a very comprehensive account of the history and the future of the public service and it is important for the development of the public service as it will fill the public gap and offer full understanding of the public servants’ role in delivering quality services to the citizens.

“We need to inspire trust, leading by example, we need to be more human centered, agility, data  driven to challenge the status-quo such that we can deliver the best to our citizens,” she said.

Adding, “I believe this book will enrich our knowledge and enhance our understanding of the public services and there is no doubt in my mind that the book will serve as a good reference on Uganda’s public service and I therefore recommend it for general readership for the public servant, university student and people in authority.”

Dr Bigirimana saluted President Museveni for his leadership and mentorship that has enabled him to write several books. “It is by his (President Museveni) enabling inspiration that we have grown in our offices and developed confidence to resourcefully apply ourselves for the growth of our country. I hope that books such as this one will do fair justice to his  legacy and the historical context in which his government has operated,” he said.

Straight from University in 1984, Dr Bigirimana joined the public service and he has served in different government departments and ministries since then.

“The public service I knew as we grew up was filled with hardworking, selfless, innovative and principled cadres beyond the regards of duty calling to ensure that the population felt the actual presence of Government on a daily basis. But today it is not uncommon for public servants to say I work for the Government while others say that the government will solve your problem. But can the Government exist if we public servants don’t fulfill the role entrusted to us?,” Dr Bigirimana wondered.

“Public servants must act as oil to service private sector growth. They must have conceptual clarity of their business and I propose a return to the colonial public service system by copying the good practices,” he said.

To Dr Bigirimana, the reason for relative degradation of the public service is historical, technical, cultural and spiritual and there is need to repent.

He also decried mandate migration in the public system saying it is one of the biggest problems that needs to be fixed.

“You find a public servant leaving out what ought to be done undone. Some people are creating positions of directors to fight commissioners but why?

People should have energies where they are best suited and weevils must be fired so that they don’t intoxicate the rest,” the PS/SJ said.

Mr Julius Caesar Sseremba, who edited the book, said it is an important bank that should be placed at the disposal of every public servant. “It ought to be used in induction courses,” Sseremba said.

UnChained: A public servant with a private sector mindset, is a journeying of narratives exploring the meaning of service and its transformation in  Uganda right from the pre-colonial period. It culminates in a modern-day examination of where the problem is in Uganda’s Public Service today.

The author acknowledges that the Ugandan workspace has evolved substantially over the years. Nonetheless, Conceptual Clarity (deep and wholesome understanding of one’s work) and an Abundance Mentality (a positive mindset) remain very important tools for the modern-day Public Servant.

At the institutional level, Mandate Migration (doing what ought not to be done and leaving what ought to be done undone) plagues the cohesive operation of Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

Using his personal experiences, as Permanent Secretary, he demonstrates that a positive attitude and thinking “outside the box” are free of charge and cost a good worker nothing to expend. It is without doubt that the  Public Service in Uganda has fundamental flaws (exacerbated by endemic  corruption) that must be addressed but that is no excuse for the  indifference, unresponsiveness and negativity of some of Uganda’s public servants. These should be fought and be defeated decisively in order to bequeath the future generations with a fruitful inheritance.

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