RDC Reshuffle Causes Anguish, Excitement and Confusion

Ofwono Opondo
June, 26 2018
The long anticipated reshuffle of the Resident District Commissioners (RDCs), and theirrespective Deputies across the country, by President Yoweri Museveni, announced two weeks ago, perhaps came too early and late for some, leaving in its wake, a good amount of anguish,excitement, apprehension, and confusion in many minds, fanned by the new era of social media communication and the upsurge of fake news. The frenzy on social media platforms of facebook, whatsApp, and Instagram pictures got many twisting, and twisting in the winds,which they ought to be left to hang in until, a final, formal, proper process and decision is made by the president, because, it is only he, who has the prerogative.
No sooner had the presidential press office released the list of the new appointees, and transfers, than the political fire storm broke loose with many within the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party machinery seeing it as a heap of political mischief, began jockeying for their respective constituents, and here is why. Firstly, it was a low bar, to say the least, that the note communicating the appointment of RDCs, wrongly cited articles 108 (1&2) and 113 (1) of the Constitution which relate to the appointment of the Vice President, and Cabinet Ministers respectively.
From there, it gave the media ammunition with which to ridicule the presidency, that, even the cautious and qualified explanations that were offered later appeared more as jokes. And although we have tried to be good spokespersons, covering our rear, the media and everyone else had jumped to the most sinister conclusions, as we look into the gaping graveyard.
Secondly, we are closing financial year 2018/18, and so, administratively it is quite difficult for the Office of the President’s Permanent Secretary to effect such massive transfers. thirdly, and which is politically imprudent, the country is awaiting the massive electioneering and polls in early July, for the long-delayed village, parish and women elections in 60,800 villages, 8,387 parishes, and 1,666 sub-counties across the country. This, surely, requires the hands of the old RDCs and their deputies, however incompetent they may be deemed to be, who know their areas of current jurisdiction well enough to supervise the exercise.
And so quite frankly, while the president has the final authority on these matters, the architects of these reshuffles and transfers should have thought and planned much better than this, otherwise, it lends credence to many who believe, that perhaps, they were economical with the truth in advising the president. This is particularly so, when, as it is now emerging that some districts got more than their due share even if President Museveni wanted or intended to play a political chase-board game to satisfy previous election promises.
Without undermining the presidential prerogative, surely it serves neither President Museveni nor NRM’s strategic goals, for example, to have four RDCs from one district like Bukedea, and incredibly, three of them, good and qualified as they are, coming from one sub-county of Kachumbala! And if this was well thought out sourcing, it adds salt to injury, when in the neighbouring district of Ngora, again five RDCs are picked, three of whom are from one sub- county of Mukura, yet the nearby districts of Serere, Amuria, Pallisa, and Kaberamaido, where NRM evicted opposition FDC in the last election, have got no such ‘rewards’. Soroti has three while Kumi and Katakwi got one each.
These examples leave no option for the political charlatans to conclude that perhaps the NRM apparatus is actually ‘tired,’ is economical with the truth, or highly compromised by a few schemers, which is quite apprehensible and dangerous for the consolidation of NRM as a cohesive political movement with a broad base, membership and leadership.
It was interesting although not entirely surprising that those dropped, no matter the reason, including for indiscipline like perennial absenteeism, abscondment, public misconduct, negligence of duty, and corruption, they all began to lobby their godfathers to have them reinstated. Some, got so dejected, closed office, and simply walked away from their stations without following standing procedures to formerly handover. Meanwhile, some of those newly appointed upon hearing their names in the media, became so anxious and just sprouted at the purported duty stations like mushroom without an appointment letter and posting instruction contrary to well known and established public service rules.
While mainstream and social media may serve useful purposes, it is critical in this era of rising incidences of false and fake news, often engineered by shenanigans with sinister motives to sow confusion the public needs to treat information on these platforms with caution to avoid creating an unwarranted anxiety and possibly conflict. Transferred and newly appointed RDCs and deputies should hold their breath until the Office of the President invites them to collect their posting instructions. Those in service should equally continue working at their current duty stations as formalities for their handover is worked out in accordance accordance with government procedures, and we hope that none of them causes the kind silly resistance currently being witnessed at the Uganda Investment Authority.