Hajji Yunus Kakande, Secretary in the President’s Office, has informed Resident District Commissioners (RDCs)/Resident City Commissioners (RCCs) and their deputies that they play a critical role in the implementation of the Parish Development Model.
The model intends to transition 39 percent of households from the subsistence economy to the money economy.
According to Hajji Kakande, the Commissioners and other stakeholders such as DISOs should be at the forefront of guaranteeing the success of government programs such as PDM because the initiative is one of the driving forces behind Uganda’s socioeconomic change.
The remarks were delivered by the Secretary in the Office of the President during his keynote talk at the start of the two-day Capacity Building Workshop for RDCs/RCCs, deputies, and DISOs from the Busoga Sub-region held at the Source of the Nile Hotel in Jinja City on 12th June, 2023.
“In the NRM Manifesto, PDM is a key program. You must be visible in order for the model to succeed. It is the only measure by which we will campaign for President Yoweri Museveni in the upcoming general elections,” Hajji Kakande stated emphatically.
“By 2025, we want the trillions of dollars we would have sent to our people to have made a difference in their lives. Through government programs such as PDM, ensure the prosperity of all Ugandans,” he said.
On the issue of abject poverty in the Busoga sub-region, Hajji Kakande recommended RDCs to guarantee that residents in the area change their attitudes toward work.
“Poverty can kill you if you don’t work for yourself.” You, as leaders, must ensure that you address the issue of improving Ugandans’ household earnings. “Can you fail if the colonialists did it?” he wondered.
“With PDM, we tell you to work and keep this money in your pockets, pay school fees, and participate in any other initiatives you can think of. This is a good intervention provided it is handled and maintained properly. You must secure the success of this model.”
Hajji Kakande also emphasized the necessity of monitoring and evaluating government programs in service delivery, reminding the Commissioners that this is one of their constitutional obligations as the President’s representatives in their areas of competence.
“You are in charge of overseeing government programs in your districts and cities, as well as security in your region.” So this regional capacity building course is critical because it provides you with additional skills that will assist you in carrying out your responsibilities,” he explained.
Hajji Kakande also asked the Commissioners to take environmental conservation seriously in order to mitigate the effects of natural calamities such as floods.
He also informed the audience that the President has already tasked the Minister for Presidency, Hon. Babirye Milly Babalanda, with preparing a Cabinet Paper on the three (3) subregions of Busoga, Bukedi, and Kigezi in order to determine how the government can sensitize the people in those areas to stop encroaching on the wetlands.
“The paper is in the works, and I’m confident it will guide you on what to do,” he said.
The President’s Secretary also urged RDCs to collaborate with other leaders in their districts to help the government accomplish its development goals.
And you are in charge of security; you cannot afford to have disagreements with the DPC, DISOs, or other district security heads,” he warned.
Associate Prof. Sudi Nangoli of Makerere University Business School (MUBS), who presented a presentation on Monitoring and Evaluation of Government Programs, recommended the commissioners to always create tangible results when monitoring government projects.
He stated that the most important aspect of project management is monitoring and evaluation.
“The quality of information you provide is largely determined by the type of monitoring and evaluation you perform,” Associate Prof. Nangoli explained.
“Monitoring data is only useful if it is made available to the appropriate users or stakeholders.””Know yourself; know your strengths and weaknesses if you want to succeed in Monitoring and Evaluation,” he continued.
Prof Nangoli also warned the RDCs against getting power drunk and bullying ordinary people, noting that such an attitude has a detrimental impact on their performance.
“Don’t fall into the trap of displaying power at the expense of results.”
The Deputy National Coordinator- PDM, Ms. Jovrine Kaliisa Kyomukama, asked the Commissioners to adopt the PDM language of pillars while sensitizing ordinary people to accept the program. She claims that this will assist Ugandans better grasp how the initiative operates.
“Pay close attention to the program. The President has been adamant about the program’s effectiveness. “He has also promised to arrest those who are sabotaging PDM,” Ms. Kaliisa remarked.
Dr. Sunday Nickson, an economist with the PDM Secretariat, told the commissioners that the model was put in place to enable poor Ugandans create family income by transitioning households from subsistence to money economy.
“Subsistence is a component of poverty; if you produce only what you eat, you are poor.” Subsistence also implies that someone has the desire to work but is financially supported. The majority of our youth are eager to work but lack employment opportunities. People are eager to produce, yet they lack capital.That is why PDM was established; to provide capital to our people,” he explained.
Dr. Sunday also stated that PDM services are provided through seven pillars. Agricultural value chain development, infrastructure and economic services, financial inclusion (supply of financial services to all citizens), and social services are among the pillars.
Community mobilization and mentality change, PDMIS (database of household and community profiles), and governance and administration are some of the others.
Lt Col Kibrai Ambako, Senior Presidential Advisor on Mobilisation-RDC Secretariat, asked the commissioners and DISOs at the same workshop to look at security issues in their areas from a strategic perspective, which will help them defend Uganda against threats that could jeopardize the country’s vital interests.
“The threats pervade social, economic, and environmental activities, as well as resolution management.” “If you only look at lawlessness or insurgency, you are missing the point,” Lt. Col Ambako explained.
“Make certain that security is taken into account in its entirety.” When you sense threats approaching and fail to warn, you are to fault,” he stressed.
Lt Col. Ambako also advised District/City Security Committees chaired by RDCs/RCCs to avoid taking insignificant minutes during their sessions.
“You have the same agenda every month, and there’s nothing new to discuss.” I read them all. I believe your Secretaries sit and recycle minutes.”Does your DSC discuss serious security issues in meetings?” he pondered.
“Your security committee meets even before facts are gathered on the ground.” You should receive issues from the sub-counties because they are continuously receiving issues from the communities. If the subcounties provide you with the minutes, those minutes should impact your agenda. And service delivery should be on your agenda. You should discuss economic and social issues to assist you in monitoring schools and health facilities, among other things.”
Mr. Herbert Atuheire.B, Principal Human Resource Officer-Office of the President, instructed the commissioners to follow the Code of Conduct and Ethics for the Public Service if they wish to keep their employment.
He stated that they should do so by adhering to the code of conduct standards, which include, among other things, professionalism, discipline, loyalty, selflessness, transparency, impartiality, financial credibility, efficiency, and effectiveness.
The code of ethics serves as a foundation for maintaining discipline in the public sector, ensuring that public officers carry out their responsibilities with dedication, diligence, integrity, and fairness. It also allows public servants to be loyal to the government and carry out government policies without fear or favor,” Mr. Atuheire explained.
“It also improves transparency and accountability in service delivery, lowers corruption, and improves performance,” he added.
Mr. Atuheire went on to say that as public employees, the Commissioners are obligated to serve members of the general public at all times.
“A public officer, therefore, holds public trust and is accountable to the public for both actions and inactions.”
Meanwhile, the Regional Capacity Building Workshops for RDCs/RCCs, deputies, and DISOs are intended to remind commissioners and DISOs of their fundamental responsibility of oversight, monitoring, mobilization, and effective representation of the Central Government and His Excellency the President.
The workshops also aim to refocus commissioners and DISOs on critical and prioritized government programs and projects that they should lead in order to achieve set objectives and ultimate goals, as well as to provide them with more appropriate skills and tools to improve their operations in their respective districts and cities.
The sessions are also intended to assist commissioners in sharing with their supervisors the problems affecting their field operations.