Word is making rounds in Hoima with members of the District Service Commission (DSC) and the district local government leadership being accused of purportedly soliciting for bribes from people seeking employment opportunities in the civil service.
With some discussing the matter on streets clandestinely, others have gone open in a radio talk show while others have taken the matter on social media platforms accusing key players in the Hoima and Kikuube DSCs, the Hoima district local government and other government projects in Hoima of alleged bribery when awarding jobs.
One such a group is Hoima’s local pressure group “Kangabaije” (a drum beaten calling residents for a quick rush in a rescue mission) whose members include politicians from diverse political divides like the National Resistance Movement (NRM and Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) parties.
A renowned NRM party mobiliser in Hoima, Mr Nicholas Mucakazi and the Hoima municipal councillor for Mparo Division, Mr Iddi Magezi, among others accuse heads of entities of alleged corruption.
Appearing on one of the radio stations in Hoima over the weekend, Mr Mucakazi purported that corruption is palpable in Hoima and Kikuube DSCs and at the Hoima International Airport.
Though he declined to publicly identify the culprits, Mr Mucakazi alleged that top leaders at Hoima district local government have planted their agents in town tasked with soliciting for bribes from people seeking employment in the government.
“There is a group of people planted in Hoima town working on behalf of bigwigs at Hoima district local government. These are tasked with getting backhanders from people seeking employment in government. These agents later take the money to their bosses,” he purported.
Mr Mucakazi added: “I even have reliable information that people seeking jobs at Hoima International Airport are first asked to give a bribe in order to be shortlisted. The personnel officer at the airport can’t do anything much to help the people of Bunyoro get jobs there because he has little say in decision making since he is being overridden by his superiors.”
On June 28, 2020, the President of Hoima Municipal Development Forum, Mr Ali Babi, took to Facebook accusing the Hoima NRM party mobiliser, Mr Amlan Tumusiime, of his “outburst and attacks on leaders for failing to give jobs to the people of Bunyoro.”
In the post, Mr Babi lectures Mr Tumusiime that whereas jobs are given on merit, corruption is central at Hoima district local government for one to successfully get a job, thus, “unfair to blame leaders for lack of giving jobs.”
“….but you Amlan, do you know what is happening at Hoima district local government where your brother, [Mr Kadir Kirungi] presides over as chairman in as far as getting jobs is concerned? Do you know that our young people who are seeking employment have to part Shs2m in order to be shortlisted for any job? Do you know that every shortlisted candidate has to part with between Shs5m to Shs10m for a job? Do you know that this criminality is also taking place in Kikuube district under the watchful eyes of you the strong and able cadres of NRM? Do you know the intrigue and nepotism of your NRM government that you cherish?”
Mr Babi adds: “…..it, therefore, defeats my understanding to see you Amlan who is ever praising himself to be a good mobiliser for these leaders and that you play a big role for them to win, how have you addressed this issue with them? I recently saw you with your young brother [Mr Kadir Kirungi] for whom you vigorously campaigned and indeed you funded him, did you try to ask him how many people he has helped to get jobs at his district?”
In response, Mr Tumusiime challenged Mr Babi to also play a role in dealing with the alleged corrupt members of the district service commission alleging that some politicians in Hoima who applied for jobs in the public sector but did not qualify were sowing hatred.
“If you know that members of the district service commission are corrupt, you as a person who approved them, what have you done about it? Some of the district councillors also applied for some posts and were not given, do you expect them to talk good of the commission? Naturally, that cannot happen. They believe as councillors they would have been given the first priority. Now, to you, who are not councillors were you aware that some councillors, too, had applied for some jobs but did not qualify? Now, you are joining them to innocently fight for their wars,” Mr Tumusiime retorted.
Speaking at the swearing in of retired educationist, Mr Joseph Kamanyire Lubega, as a newly appointed member of the district service commission at the Hoima district headquarters in Kasingo, Hoima municipality, the Hoima district LC5 chairman who is also Mr Tumusiime’s biological brother, Mr Kadir Kirungi, denied that the commission was corrupt.
Mr Kirungi said a probe committee was instituted to investigate the accusations and allegations but did not find any member culpable.
“A probe committee was established and it placed announcements over the radio calling upon people complaining about having been asked for kickbacks to come out. It has taken like two, three or four months. It was discussed in council until it was put to rest. No complainant came out saying that they were asked for a sweetener and failed to get it. And that [district service] commission is always independent”, he said.
Mr Kirungi appealed to all people complaining about bribery in the commission to approach the relevant authorities for the matter to be handled.
“However much as the [LC5] chairman, the district council and the chief administrative officer we supervise all commissions, but it is (district service commission) very independent. I want to say if there is anybody complaining about being either asked for money or had your money taken-you come. Come out physically, don’t write. Bring out your issues we shall handle them very fast,” he added.