Kampala — For the last five years, civil servants of Amuru district, including the chief administrative officer and LC5 chairperson, have been commuting from Gulu town and arriving late at their offices due to lack of accommodation.
But on Wednesday, the US, in collaboration with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), commissioned 16 staff houses worth sh753m in the district, in an effort to increase the functionality of the local government.
"Amuru district was created in 2006 out of Gulu. The district lacked buildings to accommodate staff. Because of this, civil servants were forced to continue the four-hour trip to Otwee village in Amuru sub-county where their offices are located," said John Gattorn, the USAID Uganda country representative.
He said with the new houses, the community would have increased access to their local government representatives, adding that this would also reduce transport costs.
The resident district commissioner, Edwin Yakobo Komakech, told the chief administrative officer to quickly allocate the staff houses.
Residents of Amuru town council said there should be no reason for the district staff to arrive late at work.
"Civil servants who will continue to commute from Gulu should be sacked and replaced by people who are ready to reside in Amuru town council," said Steven Oboma, a resident.
Last year, residents of Amuru sub-county blocked the main road, preventing civil servants from leaving Amuru district.
They accused them of arriving late to work and leaving early to drive back to Gulu.
"Much of the money meant to provide services to us is being spent on fuelling district vehicles to ferry staff. This money should be used to improve service delivery," lamented Rose Nyeko, another resident.
The chief administrative officer, Sam Okot, said although the departments of agriculture, planning and environment still lacked offices, staff would stop commuting from Gulu.
"The problem of late arrival and absenteeism will stop," he said.
Okot reassured the residents of Amuru that the district headquarters would not be transferred from Otwee to Pabbo town council as was reported by some politicians.
He appealed to the business community to build commercial houses so that civil servants who will not be accommodated in the staff quarters can rent.