Western Uganda has biggest slice of govt cake - new study

Left to right: Minister  for Gender and Labour and Social Development Betty Amongi, chairperson of the Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC) Safia Nalule Jukko, and Kyegegwa Woman  MP Flavia Rwabuhoro Kabahenda, during the launch of the report in Kampala on November 7, 2023. PHOTO/ Shabibah Nakirigya

What you need to know:

  • Per the report titled Annual State of Equality Opportunities in Uganda Financial Year 2022/23, western Uganda accounts for 40 percent of top positions in government agencies.

Ugandans hailing from western Uganda control a huge slice of top jobs in government agencies, a new report by the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) has revealed.
A government body mandated to eliminate discrimination and inequalities in all forms, the EOC spotlights widespread regional imbalances in access to employment in public service. 

Per the report titled Annual State of Equality Opportunities in Uganda Financial Year 2022/23, western Uganda accounts for 40 percent of top positions in government agencies. The central (26 percent), eastern (20 percent) and northern (12 percent) regions follow in that order.
Specifically, when it comes to the chief executive officer positions in government agencies, western Uganda takes up an unmatched 47 percent. The northern (20 percent), central (18 percent), and eastern (15 percent) regions all find themselves playing catch-up.
According to the government employment guidelines, the top category of positions in government service include managing director and the deputy; directors; commissioners; and assistant commissioners. The middle rank is occupied by the principals, managers, and senior officers. Elsewhere, the lower tier has the officers and the support staff.

The report recommends that the government develop a policy that guides the recruitment process, with the end goal of employing people based on “regional balance, population, academic qualification, among other parameters.”

Based on data aggregated from 30 sampled government agencies, the report empirically shows that the western region—with 36 percent—has the highest number of employees in public service. The central region places a distant second with 24 percent. The EOC opines that the strong performances could be attributable to their numerical strengths when it comes to having an educated population. The commission also points to the regions’ proximity and access to information as well as access to the national data backbone.

“Sebei Sub-region had no employees in the top management positions in all the sampled institutions,” the report states.
The 30 institutions the EOC sampled employ 12,520 employees. Of these, 4,489 employees (36 percent) are from the western region. Buganda chips in with 3,057 people, representing 24 percent. The northern region comes in third, with 2,542 employees (20 percent). The eastern region brings up the rear 2,432 employees, representing 19 percent.

At the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC), which has 4,578 employees on its books, Ankole Sub-region leads the way with 942 employees at all levels. The sub-regions of central (902), Kigezi (453), Bukedi (334), and Busoga (308) are represented in varying sizes. The rest of the sub-regions have less than 300 employees apiece, with Karamoja tailing the list with 23 people employed.

“Whereas the government has formulated policies that promote equal access and inclusion in all services, it is evident from the analysis that the NWSC criteria of recruitment and access to employment are associated with discrimination and marginalisation, which has generated socio-economic inequalities both at individual and regional levels,” the report says.

At the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Buganda Sub-region has an unmatched 1,003 employees, representing 31 percent. Ankole Sub-region comes second with 571 people employed by the taxman, representing 18 percent. Karamoja once again trails with only 31 people employed at the lowest level in the hierarchy. There are no people from Karamoja employed in the middle and top levels. Ditto the sub-regions of Bugisu, Sebei, Tooro and West Nile that do not have anyone employed at the top level of the authority. 

At the top end, Ankole and Buganda each have nine people employed at the top level. Bukedi, with three, as well as Bunyoro, Busoga, and Kigezi with two each, also have representation at the top of the proverbial food chain.
The report puts the Sub-region of Ankole and the central region in the box position, with representation at a level of commissioner and assistant commissioner, which are key in the decision-making process at URA.  Bugisu, Tooro, Karamoja, and West Nile sub-regions have no representation in the top offices. 

“This situation reveals cases of discrimination and inequalities in accessing employment at URA, as well as in creating regional imbalances,” the report reads, adding, “It also emerged that six of the eight commissioners at the Authority come from Western region, particularly Ankole and Kigezi sub-regions. This marginalises Ugandans from other regions from serving at that level.”

Uganda National Examination Board or Uneb’s 258 staff is dominated by Buganda South Sub-region (31 percent). Busoga (nine percent), Acholi (seven percent), and Bukedi (seven percent) follow in that order. Tooro, Sebei, and Karamoja with one percent apiece fare abjectly. 
“In addition, the analysis revealed that Busoga Sub-region had the highest number of people in the top positions with 50 percent, followed by Acholi, Teso, and Bugisu sub-regions at 16 percent respectively while some regions did not have employees occupying such positions,” the report discloses.

Uganda Land Commission (ULC) has Bukedi and Busoga sub-regions having the highest number of employees at 17 percent, followed by Buganda North Sub-region at 16 percent.  On the flip side, Tooro, West Nile, Teso, and Lango sub-regions have the lowest number of people accessing employment within the institution at three percent. Other sub-regions fared worse with no access to employment at the lands agency.

The EOC’s dataset shows that Buganda South Sub-region had the highest number of people employed at National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) at 22 percent, followed by Ankole Sub-region at 15 percent, and Busoga at 11 percent. 
Ankole and Bukedi have the highest number of persons at top positions at 19 percent, followed by Busoga and Tooro at 9.5 percent.
“Essentially, there is no equal representation across the sub-regions in the country,” the report says.

Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU), mandated to monitor and regulate the exploration, development, and production, as well as the refining, gas conversion, transportation, and storage of petroleum in Uganda, employs 137 people. The report illuminates disparities across sub-regions at the Authority. For example, Buganda South Sub-region had the highest number of people accessing employment with the Authority at 20 percent, followed by Ankole Sub-region at 17 percent, and Tooro at nine percent. 
According to the report, Sebei and Lango sub-regions were the least beneficiaries; while Buganda, Ankole, Bunyoro and Kigezi sub-regions had the highest number of beneficiaries in the top positions, with each having 20 percent.

At Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), which employs 165 employees, the report says while the share of employment at the Authority was not even across all the sub-regions, the share was not skewed to a single region. 
“The difference in the share of employment between Buganda, Kigezi, and Ankole was not very significant. But, that notwithstanding, other regions are marginalised such as Teso, Sebei, and Acholi,” the report says.
For example, Kigezi and Ankole sub-regions had the highest number in the top positions with each sharing 33 percent, followed by Busoga and Buganda at 17 percent, while the rest of the sub-regions did not have anyone employed in such positions.

Data from Uganda Bureau of Statistics (Ubos), which employs a 382-strong staff, places Buganda ahead of all Sub-regions. Ankole, Busoga, and Teso follow in that order, but with a significant margin. Lango is the least represented followed by Tooro. 

The Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra) is one of the biggest employers among the government agencies, with 1,416 employees. The report says, like in other entities, access to employment in Unra is a testament of sub-regional inequality, with Buganda South represented by the highest number of employees. Ankole comes second at 13 percent. Sebei, Karamoja and Bugisu are the most marginalised.
The report says Ankole had the highest number of employees occupying the top positions at 30 percent, followed by Buganda, Teso and Tooro sub-regions.

Others are

The Electoral Commission (EC) has a total of 839 staff, of whom 43 percent are female and 57 percent are male. The report says, cognisant that the EC has regional and district-based offices, all sub-regions at least have a share of employment at the entity. 
“But, that notwithstanding, sub-regional imbalances were observed.  Buganda, Ankole and Kigezi had the highest representation at 14 percent and 13 percent respectively, while Sebei, Karamoja and Acholi registered the least share of employment at the EC,” the report says.
According to the report, Ankole and Buganda South had the highest percentages of top positions with 22 percent and 28 percent respectively compared to the other Sub-regions.

At the Public Procurement & Disposal Authority (PPDA) which employs 137 employees, Buganda has a representation of almost one-third. It is followed by Kigezi (15 percent), and Ankole (14 percent).  Sebei and Acholi sub-regions were the most marginalised.

At Makerere University Business School (Mubs), with 1,484 employees on its books, Buganda has the biggest share, followed by Busoga and Ankole. Elsewhere, Sebei and Karamoja sub-regions do not have any person employed at the institution. Analysis of the sub-regional share of top management positions revealed that Buganda and Ankole enjoy the biggest share, with 39 percent and 14 percent respectively.