The previous chairperson of the commission Med Sozzi Kaggwa died in November last year. However, he has never been replaced close to eight months down the road. It’s on the basis of this that the committee pointed to the gross underperformance of the commission in the absence of a fully constituted team.
The Public Accounts Committee of
Parliament has questioned the failure by the president to appoint a new
chairperson for the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC).
The previous chairperson of
the commission Med Sozzi Kaggwa died in November last year. However, he has never been replaced close to
eight months down the road. It’s on the basis of this that the committee pointed
to the gross underperformance of the commission in the absence of a fully
The committee was meeting a team
of accounting officers from government institutions that fall under the Justice
Law and order sector (JLOS), led by the Solicitor General Francis Atoke to
respond to queries in the auditor general's report for the financial year
2018/2019 on Thursday.
The Auditor-General specifically
queried the failure by the commission to utilize its financial allocations. Margaret
Ejang, the acting accounting officer of the Uganda Human Rights Commission was asked
to explain why a sum of 1.3 billion Shillings remained unspent during the year under
But in her Defence, Ejang noted that
funds meant for the reduction of case backlog by the commission remained unused
due to lack of a fully constituted commission. During the period under review,
the commission had only two members bringing the tribunal sessions to a halt.
//Cue in; “The commission…
Cue out…take place.”//
According to Ejang the commission
currently has four commissioners. But the UHRC Act stipulates that quorum must
consist of at least three commissioners plus the chairperson.
The MPs tasked Atoke to explain
why the position of the chairperson has remained vacant. Atoke, however, said
that the responsibility of naming a replacement solely falls to the President to
whom suggestions have already been forwarded.
Okin Ojara, the vice-chairperson
of the committee noted that the committee will have to raise the matter before
//Cue in; “Can’t they choose…
Cue out…beating us seriously.”//
Meanwhile, Ejang added that 600
million Shillings meant for the construction of the Gulu Office also remained
unused after the contractor abandoned the site, while the planned purchase of a
civic education van worth 220 million Shillings could not be completed because there was no response to the advertisement.
Committee chairman Nathan Nandala
Mafabi asked Atoke, as the JLOS accounting officer, to brief the committee on
what action he had taken against accounting officers who fail to complete work
Atoke argued that at some
institutions under JLOS including the UHRC there were a number of critical
challenges that affected operations including a change of accounting officers.
When pressed further he indicated the interdiction of senior staff at the