KAMPALA. At least 19 people have so far applied for the National Forestry Authority (NFA) top job.
The candidates are seeking to replace former NFA executive director Michael Mugisa, whose two three-year terms of office expired last month.
Monday was the deadline for qualified and interested persons to apply for the job, according to an advert calling for applications published in this newspaper on January 12.
“That is the number so far but maybe there are others who will apply as the list is as of midday (Monday),” a source familiar with the development, who preferred anonymity to speak freely because he is not the NFA spokesperson, said.
According to multiple sources who spoke to this paper, those who applied for the job include; Mr Tom Obong Okello, who is currently the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) Murchison Falls National Park conservation area manager and Ms Apophia Atukunda, a former UWA employee.
Ms Atukunda was part of the group Justice Yorokamu Bamwine ordered in 2010, along with former UWA executive director, the late Moses Mapesa Wafula, to stay in office after they were sacked by Muballe Boysier Oumar, the UWA board chairperson over alleged corruption.
Others are Mr Simon Akwetaireho, who until recently served as a community development specialist with Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project (LVEMP) Phase II in the Ministry of Water and Environment, and Mr Dennis Mutaryebwa who works with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Sawlog Production Grant Scheme, a project promoting improvement of rural incomes through commercial tree planting.
According to his bio data, Mr Akwetaireho was awarded a Diploma in Endangered Species Management from the University of Kent at Canterbury, UK, in 2004, and a Masters of Science in Protected Area Management from the University of Klagenfurt, Austria, in 2009.
The National Forestry and Tree Planting Act, 2003, Section 67 (1) provides that the executive director shall hold office for three years and is eligible for reappointment for one more term.
Mr Mugisa, sources said, had expressed interest in retaining the job prompting NFA board chair, Mr Gershom Onyango, to seek guidance from Solicitor General Francis Atoke on whether he was eligible after serving two terms.
Government advised that Mr Mugisa was ineligible and he has since left office.
Other candidates include Mr Stephen Gahima who works with NFA, Ms Doreen Wandera, Mr Moses Lukerenge, Mr Robert Kajoba and Mr David Namanya. It remains unclear whether Mr Paul Musamali, the acting NFA executive director had applied for the job.