Public service boss accuses ministers of job meddling

KAMPALA. The chairperson of the Public Service Commission has called for a proper policy on recruitment of senior civil servants, saying ministers interfere with the process.
“Our method of work as the commission is very rigorous. There is written and oral exams and there are marks given. The national expectation is the suitable candidate takes the job on merit. But at the same time, the minister under the Act, which creates that government agency, has the powers to appoint whoever he wants,” Justice Ralph Ochan said yesterday.
He was speaking at the swearing-in of Ms Winnie Agnes Kabogoza-Musoke as a member of the Public Service Commission at the High Court premises in Kampala. Ms Kabogoza was being sworn in for a second four-year term.
Justice Ochan also said at the end of the recruitment process, some ministers appoint their own people, some without the required competence.
“We are going to be in touch with the Minister of Public Service so that a proper policy be created because there are two conflicting legislations which should be harmonised. We usually come up with our candidates and the minister goes ahead to ignore them,” he said.
Justice Ochan said they find challenges in recruitment for agencies such as Uganda Tourism Board, Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority and Uganda Bureau of Statistics.

Recently, there were claims that the appointment of Ms Lilly Ajarova as the new chief executive officer of UTB, and her deputy Bradford Ochieng by the Tourism minister, Prof Ephraim Kamuntu, was irregular.
Ms Ajarova, formerly working with the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee sanctuary, replaced Mr Stephen Asiimwe, who resigned to pursue further studies.
Chief Justice Bart Katureebe, who presided over the swearing-in ceremony, also hit out at ministers who criticise the Judiciary for mistakes committed by a single magistrate.
“Recently, there was something at a place called Lusanja. I heard a minister on television saying ‘this Judiciary.’ I am the head of Judiciary but I didn’t take part in that eviction. Surely you cannot know decisions being made by each magistrate in Uganda,” Chief Justice Katureebe said.
In October last year, hundreds of families were violently evicted in Wakiso District following a court order by the Chief Magistrate’s Court at Nabweru.
However, the High Court later nullified the eviction, ruling that court had no authority to order it.