By Hon.Babirye Milly Babalanda
On Wednesday, March 23, 2022, H.E Excellency the President, Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, in exercise of his Constitutional powers, reshuffled Resident District Commissioners (RDCs), Resident City Commissioners (RCCs) and their Deputies. As the line minister, I thank the President for dispensing his powers well and shaking up his representatives in the districts and cities for their better administration. It was the first major reshuffle since I assumed office.
I congratulate the newly appointed and reappointed RCCs, RDCs and Deputies and urge them to take their consideration as a gesture of great trust, confidence and optimism in them by the Appointing Authority.
This new crop of RDCs, RCCs and their Deputies is not necessarily the best by comparison but they are urged to prove themselves as the team that will effectively steer the President’s Vision of taking Uganda to the next level. They should use the chance to shape Uganda positively by showing a deep understanding of the country’s development agenda.
They were meticulously vetted and appointed on merit. There was no underhand influence. Many were interested, many were capable but not everybody could be accommodated at this time. Those who missed out will find something else to do. Even then, they should promote Government programs. That is how they will make themselves noticeable.
The new team is of field-based officers. That’s why all districts have Deputy RDCs and all cities have Deputy RCCs. Previously, there was manpower shortage. When the Minister of State for Economic Monitoring, Hon. Peter Ogwang, went to the countryside on a monitoring spree, he discovered a lot of anomalies. Government was losing a lot of money in shoddy works and inefficiency in service delivery, denying the public their due benefit from Government. I have faith that the new lot of appointees will plug those loopholes.
To succeed, they should focus on areas of government’s critical interest.
Chiefly, they should mobilize for total community security, deeply mobilize the population for enhanced household incomes including promotion of the parish development model, enhance improved service delivery in all areas of government service delivery, fight corruption on all fronts and resist all forms of illegal land evictions.
RDCs and RCCs are the five sensory organs of the President, namely; seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, tasting. Monitoring and supervision of service delivery requires that they have a high sense of perception to detect problems and propose remedies or take action definitively or in consultation with their superiors and the other arms of Government.
I have been briefing RDC and RCCs on reporting and feedback mechanisms and I am sure they know what to do. To make sure that everybody is on the same page, the new team will be inducted before assuming office.
During and after induction, I will emphasise the directives guiding their service so that they avoid making mistakes that may lead them into problems and cut short their chances.
RDCs must be exemplary at all times. The way you carry yourself in private and in public must represent the President well. There must be dignity, there must be caution and understanding. Some appointees get carried away, lose focus and end up disappointed. No one should blame the President or myself if caught on the wrong side of the guidelines and the law.
Love your country-Patriotism! Love where you are deployed and serve the people equally without discrimination. No single area of the country is preferred than another when it comes to service. Fit in where you are posted and do the correct thing at all times for the people you find there. You don’t have to work where you are born or where you have friends or where you are married. Work where the Appointing Authority says “I have a problem or plan here and I think you can help me work it out.” Be proud that you are called to duty by the greatest revolutionary of our times.
I have severally received complaints that RDCs and RCCs are discriminated and treated badly by technocrats and members of the public. This tendency needs to stop. RDCS/RCCs should be supported to do their work. If anyone has a complaint on their methods of work, such complaints should be forwarded to my office for due consideration and action.
Witch hunting RDCs/RCCs for doing their work will not be tolerated. The political class is guilty of perpetuating this practice when they try to use Government programs to pursue their own interests. On that note, Parish Development Model (PDM) gets underway, RDCs/RCCs should make sure that guidelines are followed right from the process of selecting beneficiaries to keep out politicians who may try to capitalise on the program for their own pursuits.
PDM, like other Government programs, is open to all Ugandans for as long as they are well organised.
The new representatives of the President should consider the program as a major test for them. Its success will be their success and it must succeed. They must speak the language of the President and make sure that the public is appropriately brought on board. I expect to see a great difference in how districts are administered.
Once they do that, effectively supervise security and service delivery, and properly implement the President’s directives on vices such as banning illegal evictions and encroachment on wetlands, Government will have sufficient justification to find ways to enhance their welfare and performance capacity.
I wish to take this opportunity to thank all outgoing RDCs/RCCs and the Deputies who have served with diligence and dedication. Thank you for a good job well done! The President’s Office will continue to consult with you to further promote the office of the RDC/RCC and Deputies.
The author is the Minister for the Presidency