Uganda: Sheema Service Commission On the Spot Over Corruption

23 January 2020

Councillors in Sheema have resolved to suspend the district service commission over allegations of corruption.

They have also instituted a committee to look into the accusations that have been levelled against the commission.

The commission members are accused of recruiting their relatives without declaring conflict of interest, recruiting into service of external applicants without following the right procedures, dismissal and victimisation of public officers without being given fair hearing, setting up additional requirements for some positions in public service without the approval of the Ministry of Public Service and soliciting bribes from job applicants.

The councillor for Kigarama Sub-county, Mr Junior Niweainebyoona, moved the motion to suspend the commission during the council session on Tuesday.

"This motion is intended to support presidential initiative against corruption in service delivery. Following public outcry over corruption, incompetence and abuse of office, President Museveni has on a number of occasions appealed to all the leaders to support NRM government initiatives against corruption. I, hereby, present this motion to the council to support presidential efforts against corruption," Mr Niweainebyoona said.

He added: "Investigations into all the matters of abuse of office, corruption and incompetence be conducted and detailed report be presented to this council for appropriate action. In order to ensure justice and non- interference with investigations, district service commission be suspended until investigations are complete."

The motion was supported by all 33 council members. They argued that the allegations should be looked into and claimed that the law allows them to suspend and investigate the commission since the members are approved by the council.

Mr Eldard Mwesigye, the councillor for Kasana Sub-county, said the council cannot keep quiet while Ugandans are suffering with incompetent service commission and that it is high time it acted.

"The law allows us to suspend the district service commission. Basing on the reasons given by the member, whether true or not, we should suspend the commission and send this matter to the committee of finance and administration to investigate and give us a report in the next council," Mr Mwesigye said.

Mr Robert Nkwemererire, the speaker, said: "We have agreed that we suspend the services of the district service commission while the committee investigates the allegations of corruption and bring a full report to this council."

The finance and administration committee is expected to produce a report after two months.

However, in a separate interview after the council session, the LC5 chairperson, Mr David Kabigumira, said the district council has no powers to suspend the service commission without the recommendation of the executive. He said their decision is null and void.

Mr Kabigumira further said some of the architects of the suspension wanted Public Service jobs but never got them on account of lack of qualifications and are now witchhunting the commission members.

The commission is supposed to have five members but currently has three.

The chairperson of the Commission, Mr Sam Kahindi, said: "I am taking other measures, I do not want to comment now."

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