Parliament tasks govt to explain appointment of assistant RDCs

Parliament tasks govt to explain appointment of assistant RDCs
Presidency minister Milly Babalanda

A heated debate erupted in the Parliament following the appointment of over 300 Assistant Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) with the opposition raising concerns about the selection criteria and the rationale behind these new appointments, questioning their necessity and the potential duplication of roles.

The issue was brought to the forefront when Joel Ssenyonyi, the Leader of the Opposition, highlighted the contradiction in the government's strategy.

He noted that while the government has been pushing for the rationalization and merger of agencies to cut costs, it is simultaneously appointing a significant number of Assistant RDCs.

“What roles are the new Assistant RDCs going to play that RDCs and Deputy RDCs aren’t playing?” Ssenyonyi queried.

Speaker of Parliament Anita Among also expressed her skepticism and called for an explanation from Milly Babalanda, the minister for Presidency, regarding the selection criteria.

"Let us get the report and if it is true the money was approved, then how much was it? It still brings you to the calibre of people that the Leader of Opposition is talking about," said Among.

Despite these concerns, some government officials defended the appointments. David Bahati, minister of state for industry, reminded Ssenyoni that Parliament had approved the budget for Assistant RDCs in the current 2023/24 fiscal year.

"I remember in this budget, we approved money for Assistant RDCs, and the Minister has taken action, and then you come back as if you weren’t involved—you were involved in approving," stated Bahati.

Government Chief Whip Hamson Obua requested additional time for the government to bring a comprehensive statement to Parliament to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the Assistant RDCs.

"I wish to request to give time to the Minister of Presidency to come and provide clarification on the appointment of the Assistant Resident District Commissioners and Assistant Resident City Commissioners," said Obua.

The position of assistant RDCs is enshrined in the Constitution but Article 72 that specifies it remains vague as it appears to mix up the position of deputy and assistant by keeping the two terms as a singular office.

It leaves the interpretation of Article 72 of the 1995 Constitution up to the Constitutional Court.

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