Breaking

Leaders in Kamuli Accuse Civil Servants of Withholding Information

Maxwell Charles Mugude, the Kamuli LCV Chairperson, says although politicians are supposed to be supervising what civil servants and technocrats are doing, many times politicians are denied access to basic information which complicates their duties.

Audio 5

Political leaders in Kamuli District have accused civil servants of denying them access to information which has affected service delivery.

Maxwell Charles Mugude, the Kamuli LCV Chairperson, says although politicians are supposed to be supervising what civil servants and technocrats are doing, many times politicians are denied access to basic information which complicates their duties.

The elected leaders need access to basic information on public revenues and expenditures, communications, and circulars from the central government, among others to hold civil servants accountable.

However, Mugude says that civil servants deliberately withhold information from the leaders which renders them useless.

“The law that we follow says that council is the most top body of the district. But civil servants a times refuse to give out the required information to us. This creates rifts between the politicians and civil servants. When we insist ha we need his information, the civil servant thinks that we are against them,” says Mugude. 

Mugude was speaking during a capacity-building workshop on access to information organized by Twaweza Uganda, African Freedom of Information Centre, and the Ministry ICT and National Guidance.

Noet Nangoobi, District Female Youth Councilor, says that in many circumstances information is shared with political leaders at the last minute or after a very long period when it is almost useless.

“Delaying to give out information is another tactic of denying us access. Without access to information, we cannot explain to our people wants going on in the district. The technocrats tend to refuse to share this information. During council meetings, documents are brought late denying councilors time to read them,” says Nangoobi.

Robert Mutemo, the Kamuli Resident District Commissioner, also highlights that there is a great challenge on how information is shared between the two groups in the local governments. According to him, withholding information from civil servants has always created suspicion.

//Cue in: “Delay to disseminate...

Cue out…at last minute?”//

However civil servants argue that in many cases politicians are misusing the information given to them. Joel Kaliisa, the Assistant District Engineer says politicians are fond of asking for information to incite the public against civil servants.

//Cue in: “It’s very good…

Cue out… give information.”//

However, Mathias Mwesigye, programmes officer at African Freedom of Information Centre, debunked the civil servants' argument noting that they have no right to deny political leaders, even residents, access to information based on ungrounded reasons. Mwesigye says that as long as the officer in charge has nothing to hide, there is justification for not availing of information.

//Cue in: “As public officials…

Cue out… the information”//

Marie Nanyanzi, senior programmes officers at Twaweza, says that the best remedy to the rift between the two groups is proactive disclosure of information through the recommended channels.

According to Nanyanzi, public officers always offer information in a reactive manner after being questioned yet there are means through which they pass on the information to the interested parties.

//Cue in: “for me, I believe...

Cue out…and the technocrat.”//