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Absence of Service Commission Affecting Service Delivery in Gulu District

In 2014 and 2017, Gulu emerged the best performing district council, according to the Local Government Councils’ Scorecard Report. However, in September 2021, out of 153 local governments assessed by the Office of the Prime Minister - OPM, Gulu did not make it among top 10 districts.
23 Oct 2021 14:28
Gulu District leaders during full Council meeting on Thursday. Photo by Dominic Ochola

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Gulu District Local Government is facing decline in smooth service delivery to the population due to the absence of a functioning Service Commission whose term of office expired in January 2020.

On 1st, July 2020, Gulu attained a City status and after the 2021 January general polls, Gulu District emerged breaking away to become independent relocating its headquarters to Awach Township. Consequently, some workers remained in the City while others chose to work for the District.

However, key positions such as District Health Officer, District Engineer and the assistant, Principal Entomologist, District Commercial Officer, Principal Fisheries Officer and Assistant Inventory Management Officer remained vacant with acting officers.

Other vacant positions include that of the Senior Office Supervisor, Staff Surveyor Forest Guard; Assistant Agricultural Officer, Assistant Animal Husbandry Officer, Trade Industry and LED Production and Marketing, Parish Chiefs and Town Agents among others.

Now in 2014 and 2017, Gulu emerged as the best performing district council, according to the Local Government Councils’ Scorecard Report. However, in September 2021, out of 153 local governments assessed by the Office of the Prime Minister - OPM, Gulu did not make it among top 10 districts.

The District Chairperson Christopher Opiyo Atekere, revealed that the recent Local Government Management of Service Performance Assessment for Financial Year 2020/2021 ranked Gulu below average in all service delivery sectors.

Atekere explained that the assessment focused on transparency and accountability, performance reporting and performance improvement, management and supervision services, service delivery results, human resource and development among others.

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As a way forward, Gulu District Council on Thursday approved three nominees to the Service Commission in a bid to improve services. They are; Philip Oketkeny, who will retain his seat as Chairperson of the Commission, while Julius Orach, Venny Lamunu Mukasa and Charles Moro Lumumba are the newly approved members. Phoebe Ayoo Obol, the District Speaker observed that the Council achieved a milestone in approving the names of the newly proposed members, pending final approval of the Ministry of Public Service.

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Meanwhile Stephen Odong Latek, the Resident District Commissioner observed that there are several officers in acting positions which has affected service delivery. He called for an expedited establishment of the Service Commission to formalize appointments of the requisite personnel. 

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A robust district public service set up is critical for ensuring effective delivery of public service e in Local Government and the achievement of the objectives of the decentralization policy that was adopted by the Ugandan Government.

Section 54 of the Local Governments Act provides for the establishment of a District Service Commission (DSC) in each district to perform a decentralized role of the Public Service Commission (PSC) which was established under Article 165 (1) of the 1995 Constitution.

The District Service Commission is responsible for the recruitment, promotion, disciplining and terminating all employees other than the Chief Administrative Officer - CAO, Deputy CAO, Town Clerk and Deputy Town Clerk of a City and Town Clerks of Municipalities who are appointed by Central Government.