Big Story: Kitgum, Lamwo stuck with UGX 1.8 Billion meant for staff recruitment

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Less than two months to the end of the 2020/2021 Financial year, Lamwo and Kitgum district Local Governments are still stuck with 1.8 Billion Shillings in the wage bill.

This comes as the two district local governments failed to conduct recruitment of civil servants due to a non-functional District service commission- DSC. The two districts received the money in the last financial year to conduct recruitment to fill key positions aimed at improving service delivery. 

Kitgum District in particular received a wage bill of 1 Billion Shillings for the recruitment of staffs at both the District Local Government and the Municipal Council. 

Lamwo district was on the other hand allocated additional funding of about 800 million shillings for recruitment of staffs to fill in 52 positions.

But for a year now, the recruitment process has suffered setbacks, due to the covid-19 pandemic and later the expiry of the term of offices for the District Service Commission members in the respective Districts.

For instance, in Kitgum District, two members of the service commission term in office have expired while another member passed on last month leaving only two substantial members. 

In Lamwo District, the term of office for two members who include the chairperson and another member also expired recently leaving them ineligible to oversee recruitment processes.

Jackson Omona, Kitgum District Chairperson says that the district’s earlier move to appoint two new members to constitute a quorum for the district service commission was halted by the Public Service Commission.

It followed a petition from Kitgum District Local Government Councillors to the Public Service Commission challenging the appointment process of the new members citing gross irregularities.

Omona says the decision has now left the district in a vulnerable state of losing a wage bill they took time to lobby. 

He notes that the district will also lose out on an opportunity from the government to fast track recruitment of all heads of the department because they have a non-functional District Service Commission.

Omona says the district has now dropped its earlier plans of sourcing for the services of a neighbouring district with functional service commission members citing cost implications in facilitating the team for the entire recruitment processes. 

In a letter dated March 11, addressed to Kitgum District Chief Administrative Officer, the Secretary to the Public Service Commission Dr John Geoffrey Mbabazi sought a response from the district on their move to appoint new members of the district service commission.

Dr Mbabazi had written in response to a petition received on February 24th from a section of Kitgum District Local Government Councillors who raised allegations against procures to appoint Ventorino Otto and Arthur Oryem as new service Commission members.

Lamwo LCV Chairperson, John Komakech Ogwok says the district will lose out on 800 Million Shillings additional funding meant for recruitment in key positions.

He says several positions in the district had been occupied by non-substantive heads adding that the district lobbied for the fund and prioritized for recruitment of substantive heads in key departments of the district.

Ogwok says their effort to appoint new members was equally frustrated by members of the council who opposed it.

He notes that the council members have instead resolved that new members of the District service commission be appointed when the newly elected District Chairperson and executive members take office in May.

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