Opinion
Caution needed in the proposed change in NAADS management
Publish Date: Jun 24, 2014
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By Agona Apell

I know there is a harsh military law against civilians saluting soldiers, but still I must salute the army for its reported outstanding performance in the NAADS.

So impressed was President Museveni that he proposed that army officers be appointed at every sub county to NAADS offices created to accommodate them and their brand of magic.

Many people frustrated by the incorrigible incompetence of the NAADS leadership over the past 13 years have supported this idea.

As a citizen interested in the prosperity of agriculture, I would be more than happy to see the success of the army replicated in all NAADS zones in the country. That is why I propose that this replication must be done scientifically.

First, a management consultant should be appointed to find out why the army succeeded and NAADS officers failed in the particular project areas where the army’s success was reported. Without this knowledge, even the army may fail to sustain its successes.

The purpose of discerning the ingredients of the army’s success would be to use them as a benchmark against which the actions of its officers would be measured once they are co-opted into the NAADS hierarchy.

For we know only too well how often it is that people looking for a job are at their best behaviour, only to show their true ugly colours once they have a contract.

The army may have performed well only because they wanted the president to hand over to them the reins of NAADS as he has now proposed to do.

Then in their schemes, once the reins were in their hands, they would behave no differently from the civilians they have replaced.

Of course, this is only speculation but this being Uganda it is important to guard against that possibility by having a benchmark against which to measure their actions.

If it is known why the army succeeded, then it may even be unnecessary to burden it with NAADS duties, for its methods could then be laid out in a NAADS manual whose specifications would be strictly enforced so that the civilian officers of that organisation perform at the same level as the soldiers.

In the long run, this is the only effective solution because the army is too small a unit to create a significant impact in the management of government programmes.

National prosperity requires total mobilisation of our human resources, not the outstanding performance of a few good men.

The second task of the management consultant would be to design a management structure to accommodate army officers in the NAADS hierarchy in such a way that would enhance communication and coordination between the soldiers and the civilians while insulating the soldiers from contamination by the management ills that currently afflict the civilian officers.

If the task of creating a proper structure is not competently handled, paralysis and frustration will kill the organization, and the army officers will catch the disease of their civilian colleagues. A word to the wise is enough!
 

The writer is an engineer and farmer

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