OP-ED

OPINION: Why the RDC office should be trimmed

The 2022/2023 salary structure indicates that each RDC bags home a monthly salary of UGX 2,293,200 and the deputy UGX 1,282,369. The same structure talks about the Personal Assistant to the RDCs who bag UGX 817,216.

The writer; Mubiru George (pictured) is a Jinja-based Researcher and NRM Mobiliser.

BY: MUBIRU GEORGE

In a constitutional mandate establishment under Article 203 & Section 70 of the Local Government Act, there shall be a Resident District Commissioner in every district who shall be appointed by the president. Such a person shall be a citizen of Uganda with UACE or its equivalent as minimum academic qualification.

Among the cardinal roles of a Resident District Commissioner include; Monitoring the implementation of central and local government services in a district, acting as chairperson of the district security committee and carrying out other functions as may be assigned by the president or prescribed by the law.

However, with the creation of more districts, cities and municipalities, the number of RDCs and their deputies has increased the burden on the taxpayers’ money. According to the list of RDCs and their deputies appointed on Wednesday 23rd March 2022, there are 147 RDCs, 163 deputy RDCs and 8 commissioners at the RDC secretariat totalling to 318.

The 2022/2023 salary structure indicates that each RDC bags home a monthly salary of UGX 2,293,200 and the deputy UGX 1,282,369. The same structure talks about the Assistant to the RDCs who bag UGX 817,216.

In addition to their remuneration, each of the RDCs is entitled to a car and other allowances like fuel, among others plus an escort. This is one of the dangers to our slipping economy especially when the workload is far less, and thus not viable.

There is basically a duplication of work at the district between the RDC office and the district chairperson, CAO and DISO. Their synonymity crowds the administration structure and leads to more confusion. The RDC nearly does the same job as a district chairperson and in most cases, they end up in bitter clashes. There are a few districts with good relations between RDCs and chairpersons. We have also seen that infightings between RDCs and their deputies are astronomical because bosses render their deputies dormant with less work of delegation leaving them wobbling.

This relates to the question, are the role fillings in between the two clearly understood? It is also assumed that some have engaged in Corruption and embezzlement where they connive with the district chairpersons, CAOs, Service Commissions and other technical staff to steal, derailing government projects and increasing shoddy work.

Let government remove the peripheral office of deputy RDC and increase the remuneration for one RDC in order to motivate them and focus on their work other than looking for deals in the district. In case the RDC is unable to perform his duties because of unavoidable circumstances, he should delegate to the DISO.

Additionally, there should be utmost a permanent staff in each RDC office who can bridge any gap in the day to day activities. It would even be better to assign each 500.000 people per RDC which would require us only 96 according to the estimated 48 million population.

To achieve this, quality in the appointment of RDCs must be emphasized. We have seen appointments being majorly political as rewards to regime cronies in particular to those serving regime apologists without questioning coupled with too much lobbying. Many people with questionable academic qualifications, and less intellectual and technical ability to challenge district chairpersons, CAO and the technical staff have been appointed.

Appointments for the position should target individuals who can exhibit a high level of personal and official dignity, knowledge and intellect of government policies and ongoing programs. A person with such qualities can easily identify frailties in the district to advise the chairperson, and technical staff and also sensitize the people on programs and policies he knows properly.

I would suggest that like the ministers and other high-ranking officers appointed by the president, even RDCs should be vetted by parliament in order to improve on quality in that office. It would also cease to be seen as a dumping place for unsuccessful politicians and regime sycophants. This would motivate them to perform their day to day duties with ease like assisting the LG members in the preparation of local development plans, and local investment programs and in the preparation of project proposals for possible funding.

I want to commend the current minister for the presidency and her entire group for the tenacity to impose strict measures in the administration of RDC much as the whole country was awashed by the quality of some appointments. She has exercised braveness in making transfers at any time as a conflict resolution measure among bickering RDCs and boosting the weak areas.

Similarly, she has embarked on joint engagements with RDCs to deepen key government socio-economic priorities like PDM. Much as I highly think PDM is an abstract program, she has done her best and she deserves credit.
Clean and reduce this office by looking at quality output instead of quantity which is straining our resources for nothing.

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The writer; Mubiru George, is a Jinja-based Researcher and NRM Mobiliser. (georgemubiru93@gmail.com)



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