KUMI: Kumi District Chairperson, Nelson Elungat Lakol, is up in arms against what he calls illegal staff recruitment in the district and municipality. As of May last year, when Elungat took office, he has been writing to the ministries and agencies that deal with the district’s problems with hiring.
In December, Elungat wrote to the Permanent Secretaries in the Ministries of Local Government, Public Service, and Education and to the Public Service Commission over irregularities and gross misconduct in the recruitment of the Community Development Officer, Simon Merisa, and the District Education Officer-designate, Sarah Adongo.
In his December 6, 2021, letter, Elungat said that several people were recruited and others were promoted without the posts being advertised internally or externally.
“The best example is Merisa Simon, who has been a volunteer in the District Water department, but he is now the Community Development Officer, recruited illegally using such style. Relatedly, the current District Education Officer, Mr. Otai John Michael, will have his employment contract expire on April 1st, 2022, but to my dismay, Ms. Adongo Sarah, who is the Senior District Inspector of Schools, has already been appointed as the District Education Officer (DEO) six months before the set retirement date, “his letter read in parts.
He noted that the appointment of Adongo was irregular because it lifted her from the government salary scale U3 to U1E, skipping U2. He added that the practise was an abuse of the established laws, citing the Public Service Standing Orders Act, CAP 243 of 2020 as amended.
In the same letter, Elungat asked for the transfer of the Chief Administrative Officer, Abdu Batambuze, who has since been moved to Kayunga district. In February, Elungat wrote to the Kumi Municipal Town Clerk, Richard Madate, seeking an explanation over the recruitment of three officers in the municipality.
The officers in question are George Emoru, the Lands Supervisor; Akwi Christine Oluka, the Human Resource Officer; and Ochen Charles Okodi, the Law Enforcement Officer. “I am writing to you with reference to Section 14, Subsection D and E of the Local Government Act CAP 243, which empowers me as the overall monitor and coordinator of all the activities in the municipality and lower local governments,” his letter starts.
According to Elungat, some officials have their preferred candidates whom they work very hard to recruit at the expense of other applicants. He says that in some scenarios, the officers don’t declare the available vacancies to the Ministry of Public Service, and if they do, the number is exaggerated.
However, Julius Okello, the Deputy Mayor of Kumi Municipality, says that as much as the chairman raises pertinent issues that affect service delivery, he should have discussed them with the municipal leadership before writing to Kampala.
“We responded to the matter, but I cannot discuss it with you now,” he said on the phone. Sarah Adongo, one of the candidates on the red list, says that her recruitment was conducted according to the requirements of the District Service Commission.
I have no comment regarding my appointment. What I know is that I was given the appointment on a clear path, “she said.