Public Service State Minister, Ms Grace Mary Mugasa, has attributed the lack of substantive heads of departments in Masindi local government to nepotism among district leaders.
Meeting some civil servants and politicians in Masindi, the minister wondered how the district is being run without substantive heads of departments most importantly in key areas that have direct connection to the grass-roots level.
She wondered how the district health department is until now being headed by an acting District Health Officer (DHO), Mr Patrick Baguma, after the mandate retirement age of the former DHO, Dr John Turyagaruka, who retired more than five years ago.
Other affected areas include the district production department and the works department that she said are key in thrusting health, social and financial development in any domain.
Ms Mugasa noted that nepotism was pivotal in that situation that has left the district operating without substantive heads of departments yet there are plenty people qualifying to fill those positions.
She told the leaders not to restrict employment opportunities to the people born in Masindi only saying they could not be qualifying for those vacancies yet people in other regions have the requirements.
Ms Mugasa told the civil servants and political leaders to resort to open recruitment to ensure that the people of Masindi receive substantive services instead of cocooning themselves to ‘nepotism.’
“But we have also noted that sometimes we are the ones doing that. A position falls vacant, but again you have to wait for someone, maybe your son, maybe your relative who is at university. Here you find someone acting for six years but time comes when they are told to leave the office because an expert has come.”
Adding: “Because of nepotism, some people don’t even want to recruit people from other regions. They are tying themselves to decentralisation saying that ‘because of decentralisation, only people born here should be the only ones to work in Masindi.’ Actually, that’s why you are failing to attract. You will find that there is no DHO [District Health Officer] who is a born of Masindi but there is a born of Katakwi [district]. But you don’t want to employ him/her here because s/he is not a born of this area.
The Masindi district local government Secretary for Production, Mr Bigabwa, told the minister the District Service Commission announced vacant slots in the district local government but some whistleblowers told the Inspectorate of Government that the recruitment exercise was allegedly full of corruption that led to purported recruitment of unqualified people.
As a result, the ombudsman has launched an investigation into the claims as the recruited personnel put on halt pending the outcome from the inquiry.