Gulu councilors petition Local government Ministry over removal of CAO
A section of councilors at Gulu district local government have petitioned the Permanent Secretary Ministry of local government demanding the withdrawal of the district Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Ms Dorothy Ajwang over incompetence.
The councilors in a petition letter dated 18th this September 2015, mentioned key issues which included constant absenteeism, delays in departmental releases, slow procurement processes, and over drawing of fuels for travels by the CAO.
Mr Opiyo Christopher Atekere, the LCV Councilor Awach Sub-county who was the lead petitioner while addressing a meeting at the CAO’s board room in Gulu town on Tuesday said the CAO’s absenteeism has crippled service delivery in the district.
“Most of the departmental offices in the district are at a standstill because the CAO is always not around, she has made Kampala her office and no longer attends to issues affecting the district,” says Mr Opiyo.
This petition highlights the problems the district is faced with, and with this we want to seek redress from the Permanent Secretary local government so that a substantive CAO that can steer the district to achievement be brought, adds Ms Opio.
“we have senior citizens in the district who have for now two months not been able to get their pensions simply because the office of the CAO cannot address their plight, while the management of the revenue collected has been at stake and ends up being used on unproductive ventures,” says Mr Opiyo.
He said their interventions to seek for help from the District LCV Chairperson, Mr Martin Ojara Mapenduzi were ignored. Mapenduzi however refuted the allegations saying the councilors woes were solved during a retreat meeting held in May this year at Sir Samuel Baker School and those unresolved were being worked on.
Mr Balington P’Ongwec Olweny, LCV councilor Bungatira Sub-county, said ever since Ms Ajwang assumed office in November last year, she has created divisionism among councilors and the local government staffs that has made many to resign from work.
“Recently the Procurement officer and the records officer left their work because of the poor coordination with CAO, many people in the CAOs office are considering tendering in their resignation because the person who should have supervised them doesn’t stay in office,” says Mr Olweny.
He added that Ms Ajwang does not have a home in Gulu district and always likes staying in Kampala meaning her travel expenses are too high for the district budget.
Mr Olweny cited that Ms Ajwang’s incompetence had been noticed in districts such as Mpigi, Kikegwa, Mpigi, and Mbale were she worked as CAO but was forcefully thrown out of office.
During the meeting attended by District Police Commander (DPC), Mr Martin Okoyo, acting RDC Gulu Mr Nkwassibwe John, the Deputy CAO and other district leaders, the Councilors had also threatened to lock the CAO’s office but were calmed down by the DPC.
When contacted, Ajwang said she was in Kampala on official duty attending a workshop on Climate Change but not personal duties as the councilors alleged.
“Its total rubbish to say that I am always out of office, what is happening is not just what the councilors are saying but a fear that some staffs have since most have been acting yet soon I will advertise for certain positions,” says Ms Ajwang.
She said her absence from the district should not be a big deal because with her work, it doesn’t necessarily require her presence all the time arguing that they have supervisors whom they coordinate with to ensure effectiveness.
“I don’t have to be in office physically all the time; I can pay even from Lira, or anywhere. As the Chief finance controller in the district, everyone will eye you and they will look for ways of tarnishing your names and this is what has happened in the districts I have been working in,” says Ms Ajwang.
Late last month, councilors and district leadership in Pader district threatened to subject their CAO Mr Andrew Leru before district disciplinary committee over constant absenteeism from office and incompetence.