Established to train and orient civil servants, Uganda’s Civil Service College is now ripe for transformation. The current global dynamics require a manpower pool with a knowledge, skill, attitude, mindset and orientation (KOSAMO) mix that is a blend of the traditional civil service (standing orders, ‘most obedient servant’) and hot-blooded, profit chasing capitalism.
This is what constitutes the new parameters of corporate citizenship: A triple-bottom line company driven by profits, people and planet. The secret behind the success of multinationals is this symbiotic mutuality: Nationalist capitalists synergising with business-savvy civil servants.
National policies adopted by the State (domestic or foreign) are driven by nationalist capitalist interests. We are yet to attain this crucial determinant variable, as each sector (public or private) goes about their respective individual pursuits, oblivious of this vital synergy.
This is the general scenario, except for a few isolated formalities. What we must go for, is a deliberate, structured strategy to establish this synergy, beyond the current of interface.
To achieve this, the Civil Service College should be transformed into a human capital development authority, focusing on developing both the private and public sector manpower needs, commensurate with the current global dynamics. In the absence of a substantive ministry of Labour, this authority would shoulder the responsibility of planning and developing the human skill base of Uganda, the way our neighbours are developing theirs.
Kenya’s Directorate of Industrial Training has been upgraded into an authority, the National Industrial Training Authority, while Rwanda’s is called the Workforce Development Authority.
In the context of the East African Common Market, we can only be regionally competitive in terms of movement of labour across the region, if we benchmark our neighbours. Currently, there seems to be no defined roadmap towards enabling Uganda to reap from the rights and freedoms stipulated in the Common Market Protocol, namely the free movement of people, free movement of labour, rights to establishment, right to residence.
Our neighbours are better prepared, thus the current skewed distribution against Uganda when it comes to cross-border employment, establishment and residence. The long-awaited manpower survey is yet to be effected, perhaps owing to the opacity of roles among ministries, departments and agencies, about who should effect it.
The same applies to such enabling implementation as the adoption and diffusion of Kiswahili, the dissemination and management of the Young Workers Exchange Programme, and similar issues.
The authority, therefore, would eliminate this ambiguity, inter alia, not least the upgrading of the current caravan system to a sedentary incubation centre of excellence for the drivers of our prosperity. We need an indigenous, nationalist, core hybrid league, along the lines of Brazil’s pockets of efficiency.
This is what Makerere’s former vice chancellor, Prof Ddumba-Ssentamu, means when he asserts that... “development cannot be implanted from outside… forces outside the economy can stimulate and facilitate the indigenous forces, but cannot maintain it… there must emerge a group of business, administrative, and political leaders who can be depended upon to maintain the momentum of development by constant innovation” (Ddumba-Ssentamu 2004).
This negates the current situation of isolated, disparate efforts, with minimal, occasional, interaction that cannot approximate to a structured synergisation.
Brazil’s commanding heights of the economy (sugar, leather, motor vehicle and aviation) are driven by a skilled force with the correct KOSAMO proportion mix.
Each one knows the importance of their input into the global development of the country. The skilling and succession is so planned that there is a seamless continuous flow as one moves from one level to another, up to retirement. Great benchmark.