The newly appointed National Water Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) managing director, Dr Silver Mugisha, has said expanding the utility's services tops his priority list.
Dr Mugisha was today officially unveiled to NWSC staff in Kampala, following his appointment to the post on Monday. His appointment ended an acrimonious search for a successor to Dr William Muhairwe, who left the job two years ago.
Today, Eng Alex Gisagara, who has been acting managing director, formally handed over to Mugisha.
In his first remarks, Mugisha appealed for calm and maximum cooperation from staff as he outlined his plans for the corporation.
In the first three years, Mugisha wants to expand NWSC services, from an estimated 77 per cent coverage to 85 per cent and reach at least 33 towns from the 28 where the utility currently operates.
He listed reducing water losses and staff turnover among other priorities. Mugisha promised to improve staff welfare, retention and offer training opportunities.
However, he emphasised that he will immediately work to end 'dry zones' (places under NWSC coverage but without water) and clean up the corporation's image, tainted by staff who seek bribes from consumers.
"I will not tolerate extortion on either reconnections or new connections and dry zones because they affect our customers and dent our image as a corporation," Mugisha stated.
Until his appointment, Mugisha, who holds a PhD in Engineering and Managements from Makerere University, has been serving as chief manager for institutional development and external services. He joined NWSC in 1994 and has risen through the ranks.
Mugisha heaped praise on his immediate predecessor Gisagara, whom he described as his 'elder and mentor' contrary to assertions that they had become enemies during the battle for the job.
For his part, Gisagara conceded that the process to appoint Mugisha had been tight but professionally handled and he accepted defeat. He compared the whole process to the Biblical story of Moses and Joshua delivering Jews to the Promised Land.
As the process to appoint Muhairwe's replacement dragged on, President Museveni and the IGG, Irene Mulyagonza, intervened. At one time, donors also expressed concern over the political intervention.