What you need to know:
- Frank Rusa is the legal director at Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA). The 47-year-old lawyer with 20 years of practice under his belt. He started out as a state attorney. At 28, he was appointed to the legal department of the Electoral Commission. He has been marshalling the talents of an energetic youthful population as well as in the international sphere. He is the immediate country Director of the Netherlands Institute for Multi-party Democracy, an international NGO based in the Hague Netherlands, writes Edgar Batte.
What does your job entail?
The legal department is the one in charge of law enforcement. There has been a lot of outcry from the public about the way sometimes enforcement is handled in the city. The legal department is in charge of litigation and in many cases KCCA is either a litigant as a respondent or a plaintiff.
Many court settlements and judgments have to be catered of. There is a lot of legal advisory work. Our legal department is actually a law firm. We are in charge of playing an advisory role to all the other nine directorates in KCCA on matters of law under the office of the Executive Director.
I am aware of the tension between the political and technical wing and I am glad there has been a lot of bridging and confidence building between these two arms and I am sure I am going to be a useful instrument in cementing the relationship between the two wings.
I come to KCCA at a time when the city is faced with so many challenges, many of which are to do with service delivery but there’s also a lot of issues within the legal department.
Do your career ambitions speak to occupying a bigger office?
I wouldn’t say that now. It’s God’s plans. For now, the focus is on the work I have assigned to do.
Who and what has made you the person you are?
My mother’s Christian upbringing and my choice to become an active Christian and my father’s purpose to give us the best of education gave me a good foundation and friends I’ve kept for over 20 years.
We have grown together and seen each other grow: many of them are CEOs, head of corporations, leaders in banks, leading international organisations. They have all had an influence on me.
What career moments shaped your journey?
I read a lot of biographies that really touched me, for example Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom. It was such a powerful book. I was luck to go to Stamford University where I was mentored by distinguished scholars in democracy and governance.
In 2013, I was lucky to be appointed the National Fellow for Democracy in the U.S.A whose objective is to push for democratic norms around the world. I particularly did a research on the role of civil society and it’s impact on democracy and changing societies.
I got to meet senators, leaders of great civil organisations, organisations in America that focus on Africa development programs. I learnt a lot from them and they also learnt from me.
I was a world fellow at Yale University in 2016 and I was chosen to be among the 16 leaders who were midterm leaders chosen to do a leadership program there.
In Uganda it’s me and Honourable Norbert Mao who have done that program. It’s a great program that teaches about the intersection of politics, public affairs and governance.
I also did Master’s degree at Harvard university in public policy and public administration which is designed to expose learners to so many disciplines. It shaped my appreciation of life, what it means to be a leader and ensure that your dreams are realised.
Have you used your professional achievements to impact others?
I have always been a very social animal. I and my friends have been involved in a social fraternity through which we continue to speak to our children and others to learn from us.
I also do a lot of inspirational talks to young people, In my social life, I am also an addictions councillor. I am not professional but because I had a problem with drinking and I have stopped, I have been spending time helping people with drinking program, I do it free of charge.
You’ve been at the held of IPOD, what did your leadership contribute to harnessing political players?
IPOD had never held a presidential meeting, although there were provisions for this arrangement but never matured for a variety of reasons. In December 2018 we had the first IPOD summit that was attended by his excellency the president of Uganda and the presidents of DP, UPC and Justice Forum.
Beyond making these leaders sit together, we managed a certain degree of trust. There is still a lot to be done but I am glad that they worked together to make some reforms in the Public Management Laws, tried to change electoral laws, they have worked together to improve public funding for political parties,
Which Uganda would you like your children to inherit?
I believe that our country has been blessed and gifted in kind of the nature, climate, altitude, temperature, good agriculture and tourism. Beyond that, we have a young population that is so energetic and innovative.
We have a lot of wealth in terms of mineral potential so I believe that if our political leaders can learn that Uganda is bigger than any of us... There’s going to be a day when Uganda is here and we are gone, so what kind of Uganda we are leaving behind for those who will come after us?
So, I am hoping that we can work together with all the leaders and here I don’t mean just political leaders but everybody: civil, religious, cultural leaders and all areas.
They must all understand that we must create a better country for our children than the one we found. This means working hard to expand what is in the granary.
We always complain about corruption. Corruption means that we are misusing what’s in the granary but what’s in the granary is not enough. Let’s increase what is in the granary and also check how it is being used, so it’s a duo approach, expand the economy and grow a good utilisation of our resources with equitable access to such resources.
I hope for a Uganda where our children will have access to equal education system, social justice regardless of what defines them, that any child born in this country is allowed to make it. It’s a big ambition that we might not see in our life time but it’s something that we should all work towards.
What is on your jobs and career wish list?
I hope that one day I will have an opportunity to be involved in shaping public policy in this country. I think there is a need in that line to align Public police framework to serve the needs of this country, aided by a robust legal regime built on the foundations of the rule of law so that it can change the fortunes of our country.
When you look at the story of Singapore, how it translated, you realised that the biggest resource any country has is the human resource and if you harness that resource, to allow talents to prosper and hard work to be rewarded and the reduction of corruption.
I have also a strong wish to live and see my children grow and become responsible citizens of the world. I hope that our country will continue to grow in all aspects and I wish that there is a time when there is more social justice in this country and a source of nationhood.
Currently the sense of Ugandahood is very low. People want to identify more in terms of tribes, religion but one day I wish everyone will feel that Uganda is what defines us all. I wish that our country will be self sustaining such that our children should stop leaving their country to go and look for jobs out in undesirable conditions.