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Apology after failing a government project is not enough

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Added 28th May 2018 02:41 PM

It is an insult to tax payers, to hear that on top of paying these officials their salaries, the same people are crippling services meant to benefit them

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It is an insult to tax payers, to hear that on top of paying these officials their salaries, the same people are crippling services meant to benefit them

By Allawi Ssemanda

Officials who fail to supervise their offices and cause government to lose money should not only apologise but be forced to pay losses they cause and also resign. 

Since the Uganda Land Commission of Inquiry started their investigations, we have seen several officials at different ranks from political appointees to those appointed by service commission appearing before the commission apologising for failing to do their roles which sometimes has resulted into loses of big amounts of money. 

A case in point is accountant general Ssemakula Lawrence who on Friday, May 25, 2018 after appearing before the Uganda Land Commission of Inquiry led by Lady Justice Catherine Bamugemereire told the commission that the Uganda Land Commission misled him where by 158 billion shillings which was meant to support Uganda land Commission Fund ended up in the land fund yet the two projects are different. Although the accountant general apologized, and promised to go back to his supervisors to ensure that they open and operationalize the Lacking Land Fund account, this is not enough, heads should roll! People should be held accountable, this is when we will learn that if you are given a responsibility, you must do it as required. 

Apology must be followed with a cost. According to two different books of the Holy Bible in the Old Testament – 1 Chronicles 21:24 and 2 Samuel 24: 24, King David taught us that it makes no sense for one to make a sacrifice that costs him nothing! 

Put differently, apologising and moving on as usual means that other officials despite being paid to do their jobs well, they will continue with this kind of laxity and whenever they are told to account, they will simply apologise despite their actions failing government programs and at times causing the government and tax payers losing billions of money and time. Therefore, instead of simply apologising after doing wrong, such officials should be reprimanded for negligence of their duties, if their actions cause government loss, they should be forced to pay and then resign, while political appointees should either be fired resign for embarrassing appointment authority by not doing as expected.  This will result into effective service delivery since one knows he will face repercussions for neglecting his/her duty.   

Otherwise it is an insult to tax payers, to hear that on top of paying these officials their salaries, the same people are crippling services meant to benefit them. It is also encouraging incompetence at work after all, one hopes to apologize later after messing up government’s project(s). 

Actually, neglecting your responsibilities yet you are paid to fulfil such responsibilities is a sign of corruption. It is like stealing public funds. You’re simply taking salary yet you’re not delivering and, therefore, Inspector General of Government (IGG) should really pick interest in such cases, force such officials to step aside and investigate them.   

As Indira Ghandi taught us, questioning is the basis of knowledge and those who don’t ask are condemned to bondage. We must ask some hard questions how someone paid to do a job turns up apologizing for doing centrally and government resources are either misused or lost.  Maybe some of these officials do not qualify to be in such positions/offices. Otherwise, what really explains their failure to do their duties diligently yet every government department has legal advisor(s) whom one would imagine would help them to understand what they may say required legal knowledge? In my opinion, IGG should really pick interest in such cases and where it is really proved that they were taking government money (salaries) yet not delivering, they should be forced to pay back the monies paid to them as salaries with interest and then be forced to resign. 

This is the only way we will force people to be responsible at work and handle government’s money as public funds not personal monies and respect offices people occupy. 

writer is a Ph.D student of International Relations & Diplomacy

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