Honourable Colleague Ministers, Secretary Office of the President and staff, RDCs, D/RDCs, DISOs, ladies and gentlemen; allow me to first welcome you to yet another very important retreat of the year.
I congratulate all of you for finishing the year 2014 and for the mile stones you managed to accomplish.
I wish also to pass on my sincere condolences to all of you who lost your dear ones and in particular take note of the comrades we lost like the Late Obedmoth Ofungi, who was serving as our RDC for Alebtong District.
We can all stand up to observe a moment of silence in honour of those departed comrades. May their souls rest in eternal peace.
This year’s retreat is very important and strategic because for the first time we are bringing together RDCs, DRDCs, District Internal Security Officers (DISOs) and Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs).
This was after realising the need for you to coordinate and move as a team with the same objective. I am grateful to the Minister of Local Government for accepting this joint activity.
I would like to thank the Secretary Office of the President and the staff for organizing and planning adequately for this retreat. Am happy this has now become an annual activity of our office.
At last year’s retreat I gave you the ideological foundation as well as the evolution of the institution of RDCs/DRDCs and therefore I will not repeat it.
I however expect you to fully understand that historical foundation and make sure you don’t deviate from those core foundation objectives of the office. You can refer to my last year’s speech.
From the retreat of last year, we have achieved some progress in as far as building the capacity of your institution is concerned. The following are some of the updates I wish to highlight;
1. His Excellency the President listened to your plea in your memorandum at last year’s retreat and your fuel has now been enhanced. I am sure you know this.
I will also continue to discuss with Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to see that your fuel for monitoring is further increased gradually over the years.
However, for the Office of the President to convince government to appreciate your roles as a key priority and therefore justify the need for further facilitation, you must prove your worth and relevance. You must therefore perform your core mandate.
You must fight and stop the diversion and wastage of public resources through intensified inspection of government projects. You are the gate keepers and watch men of government in your respective stations. You should fight impunity in government work uncompromisingly.
We are there to support you. I have argued before and will repeat; the fight against corruption will never be successful if preventive measures are not well built.
However much as the other anti-graft institutions are vigilant, their work is always after the crimes have taken place and therefore somehow post mortem.
The real sustainable approach which will also simplify the work of IGG, CIID, AG, etc is strict inspection and monitoring in real time, that is, right at the point of expenditure. You can therefore see how critical your role is.
I am grateful to most of you that have stuck to your roles. We get good feedback about the majority of you. The impression about the roles of RDCs is now more positive with many citizens trying to regain confidence in your work. Keep it up and my office shall continue to support you.
I am however disappointed with some of you that continue to take your work casually and not serious. Some of you as you know yourselves continue to be habitual absentees at work without any authorization to be out of station, be it for short or long periods.
This will not be tolerated any more, irrespective of what justification you may have. Those of you who have been in the habit of absenting yourselves for prolonged terms without approval from Office of the President have exhibited the highest form of corruption by continuously drawing salaries and monitoring funds which you have not worked for.
I am therefore cautioning you against this vice. And I hope we shall candidly discuss this during this retreat. If you are supposed to be the chief inspector and yet at the same time you are the one who is perpetually absent, what then is the meaning of your work?
2. We must all adopt a standard method of work. If it’s monitoring, what is it that the RDC/DRDC should pay attention to on routine basis? His Excellency the President has firmly given the following instructions in writing and I am reproducing them here for your reminder;
– Discovering whether services and resources meant for the people are received. For instance, are teachers getting their salaries? Are the teachers teaching or are they spending the whole day under the mango trees conversing? Is the Operation Wealth Creation reaching the beneficiaries for whom it is intended?
– Monitor the roads and find out whether government is being overpriced. Find out whether medical and veterinary drugs are being diverted. All leaders at the district should make sure that the government programmes benefit the ordinary person. This is your primary responsibility.
– Sensitization of the public about how to live right. District officials should help government eliminate loopholes that can cause diseases or poverty. I urge you to work like you owe this nation a service. Building of a nation is not a duty, it’s a pleasure to all that love their country and there is no price tag to this. Therefore when you are at work, bear in mind that this is your Country.
His Excellency the President also emphasised that you should listen to petitions from citizens, coordinate crime and intelligence reports with technical actors like DISO and Police.
3. The Other Key task of your work should be to communicate government programmes and other messages of national guidance. Ministry of Information and National Guidance in collaboration with Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) have by a policy instrument secured Government free airtime on all radios and even many radios are always willing to host you at any time to pass on messages relating to government programmes.
If most of you have not yet taken this seriously, how then will you undertake this major task of communicating government programmes? Through the radios and other field outreach programmes, the population should be mobilized to engage in profitable commercial production for enhancement of household incomes.
Standard messages by HE the President on this very subject have been produced and you have copies in easy to read and understand format.
So you should propagate them without relenting. It should be made clear to the citizenry that whereas government has its primary roles of building infrastructures, maintaining peace and stability, etc., the citizenry ought to work on their own towards improving their individual households. Moreover this is even better simplified with the numerous subsidies of inputs that government is giving. All these need to be emphatically and repeatedly explained to the people. You are the ones to do this.
4. For those of you intending to enter elective politics, the constitution and other laws give a chance to do so. You should also know the procedure to take. However it is very wrong for some of you to abandon your stations and relocate to your prospective constituencies to engage in early politicking. This is not acceptable.
I have given instructions to the secretary Office of the President to meet all of you concerned for proper advice. Engaging in Partisan politicking is also an issue many of you ought to be cautious about especially as we approach the election period. Do not engage in local politics. You should by all means strive to be above the divisive local politics and stick to your roles of inspection and security coordination.
5. As RDCs you are legally mandated to be the chairpersons of the District Security Committees (DSCs). This is meant to coordinate the work of all the security actors in the district and ensure that the respective security committees right from the village up to the Sub County level are in place. They are the bedrock of foundation security.
You heard recently the IGP making this clarion call as one of the key basic prerequisites in the fight against violent crime and terrorism threats. It’s your duty and not any other to ensure that the local security system in the district is functioning.
We shall once again in this retreat take you through various presentations including how to source information about government programmes and how to communicate it even when I personally presented and discussed this for you at last year’s retreat. As your supervising Minister and Office of the President in general, we expect you to pay keen attention to the following core activities/functions;
· Periodic inspection and monitoring of government programmes with special attention to areas identified above. Once again let me re-emphasize that as a monitor/inspector, you need to know what to inspect. In the past, His Excellency the President directed that RDCs/DRDCs should launch/commission all projects/programmes in districts.
However, I am reliably informed that some Chief Administrative Officers have stubbornly refused to avail you information regarding these programmes or you have been deliberately sidelined by the different implementing entities.
I will use this retreat as an opportunity to talk to the CAOs and harmonise about the need to facilitate launching and commissioning of government works both at start and end respectively.
· Communicating relevant and factual messages/information about government programmes in your respective districts to the community and highlighting government achievements in each Financial Year or even a quarter of Financial releases.
· Being resident and full time staff in your districts and therefore taking full charge of your stations. You are not only civil servants but security chiefs and therefore should be alert all the time.
· Convene and chair Security meetings. You should make sure that Security meetings are convened as regular as they ought to be so as to give a platform for all the Security actors in the district to come together and coordinate work.
We shall therefore be assessing your performance on these core tasks. Your monthly reports should as well highlight what has been done and achieved along these tasks.
There is also need for you to improve on your reporting. My advice to you is that; separate Incidental reports from the routine monthly reports.
While monthly reports will be general covering how your office has tackled the above tasks, incidental reports should be on specific incidents e.g. detailing a particular corruption case, Insecurity or some unusual occurrence like an epidemic in your district that you would want government to either immediately respond to or advise on.
Incidental reports can be submitted to my office at any time as the incident occurs, as you continue filing the routine monthly reports. However, in all these reports strive for completeness, accuracy and timeliness. Let the issues be properly presented with evidence or leads/clues that can further be followed. Don’t just write hearsay.
As I advised last year in my key note address, to ensure completeness, your report should answer the questions of what, When, Where, How and Who? These should guide not only your reporting but also help you in inquiries to obtain facts which you will then feed in your reports. Strive for consistency so as to reflect progression of events in your districts.
For instance; if last month you reported about poor state of roads in your district, and in your actions taken, you had brought it to the attention of Sector Engineer UNRA or District, and maybe they made a pledge to fix the defects, your subsequent report should reflect whether the situation has improved or not (current status). This is the idea about progressive reporting.
Failure to report is a sign of unseriousness and each of you will be held responsible for that.
We now have requisite capacity in Office of the President to review all your reports in time and take appropriate action. Some government agencies are also beginning to take seriously the feedback you give to the Central Government through your reports.
The DISOs who are also staff of Office of the President and are technical in the field of information gathering and processing, should help you in analysis and collaboration of evidence especially when following up cases of impropriety in the delivery of public services. Therefore make good use of each other.
I commend many of you that are so far doing right and sticking to your brief as quite often emphasized. You can do more and you should do more.
I would love to quantify in the coming years in real monetary figures the amounts of money government is able to save or recover as a result of your strict monitoring and inspection efforts. Let us all aim at this.
I thank you for listening to me.
Frank K Tumwebaze
Minister for Presidency/KCCA