It is noticeable that the discipline of Resident District/City Commissioners is well stipulated in this regime of Milly Babirye Babalanda, the Minister for the Presidency.
Article 203 of the 1995 Constitution provides for the establishment of the office of the resident district/ city Commissioner and the cardinal roles provided for as seen below:
- To monitor the implementation of central and local government services in the district,
- To act as chairperson of the district security committee,
- To carry out such other functions as may be assigned by the President or prescribed by Parliament by law and
In addition, Article 71 of the Local Government Act 1997 depicts the functions of the resident district/city commissioner as follows:
- Represent the President and the government services in the district.
- Coordinate government services in the district.
- Advise the district chairperson on matters of a national nature that may affect the district or its plans or programmes and particularly the relations between the district and the Government.
- Monitor and inspect the activities of local governments and, where necessary, advise the chairperson.
- Carry out such other functions as may be assigned by the President or prescribed by Parliament.
These functions are the designed guiding principles of the Office of RDC/RCC, and DRDC/DRCC in their work plans.
For instance, regarding monitoring central and local government projects, RDCs have to interest themselves in knowing all government programmes running in their districts as well as the funds allocated to them.
RDCs have to take the lead in explaining government programmes and allocating funds to the people in various areas, including the use of the mass media in every district.
By doing this, the RDCs have to be carrying out civic empowerment of the citizenry and helping the public know the government programmes and funds allocated to them to be able to demand services offered by those programmes.
Creating awareness about the way public resources are utilised and what programmes are being undertaken as a prerequisite for improving service delivery is a major tool for fighting corruption.
RDCRCCs and their deputies are expected to concentrate on their constitutional roles to control cases of supplying air by contractors, shoddy works, theft of drugs in the hospitals, absenteeism of public servants, disappearance and diversion of Emyooga, PDM, USE/UPE funds.
The RDC’s office is the first anti-corruption office at the district level.
Secondly, the National Security Council Act of 2000, under section 6 provides for the establishment of district security and intelligence committees chaired by the RDC.
As chairperson of the district security committee, RDC/RCCs generally liaise with other security actors to fight crime.
At the sub-county level, the LC3 chairperson chairs the security committee meetings and these should report their findings to the RDC at the sub-county. So, RDCs have a structure across their districts that enables them to ably handle security matters.
Thirdly, the Constitution mandates the RDC/RCCs to take on any other role Prescribed to them by the President or by law made by Parliament.
The President writes guidelines to RDC/RCCs and other political leaders from time to time as well as gives directives on some key areas on which to mobilise the population, for example, awareness against pandemics and diseases, among many others.
These have to be the main activities to pre-occupy the RDC/RCC on a day-to-day basis, in addition to the other roles mentioned above. RDC/RCCs should mobilise the population to take heed of the Government’s guidance on such policy issues.
RDC/RCCs also have to always acquaint themselves with the basic provisions of the laws that further guide and support their work.
However, we observed RDC/RCCs in the past doing the contrary by fuelling corrupt tendencies such as:
- Failing to help wananchi to get fair justice at bureaucratic levels in some cases mainly with land dispute problems and getting involved in unfair evictions by the rich who come to petition.
- Failing to handle petitions properly by replacing the courts’ role to the extent of issuing judicial orders. Yet they have to just study the petitions received from people on a case-by-case basis and offer to mediate between the parties involved in the dispute, especially if the parties are all residents. Once unfair treatment or denial of justice to one of the parties is discovered in the dispute on account of his or her status being poor by the Justice system, the RDC/RCC should approach the responsible offices to officially complain about the injustices discovered.
- Failing to properly understand their constitutional roles, to do what is right, and represent the President and central government effectively was tainting the image of the Government.
- Conniving with the CAOs, LC5 chairpersons, and councillors to Swindle and get illicit kickbacks on the Government’s money that would be helping to improve social services and government projects which change the mode of effective monitoring.
- And sometimes ignoring presidential directives.
However, under Minister Babalanda, such uncouth behaviours among the RDCs/RCCs and their deputies are being managed well, and a number of them are very disciplined and submissive to the presidential directives plus focusing on their cardinal roles.
The writer is a Political and Media analyst at the office of the National Chairman (ONC)