The incoming Minister in charge of Presidency Hon Milly Babirye Babalanda has told ministers and other officials under her that now is time to deliver as expected and therefore intrigue, blackmail and unproductive fights will not be tolerated.
In a 23 page document, Hon Babalanda introduced an array of reforms in the operations of the Presidents Office, and highlighted 17 priority areas all geared at enhancing service delivery and the image of President Yoweri Museveni. She assumed office today taking over from Hon Esther Mbayo who has been in office since 2016.
In a strong-worded speech to Prime Minister Rt Hon Robina Nabbanja and the 7 ministers under presidency, Babalanda cautioned leaders under her, to change their attitude towards work or quit. She also sounded a strong warning to RDCs whose record, she says, has been characterized by laziness, greed and unproductive fights.
“For you that are meeting me for the first time, Milly is a humble and down-to-earth peace maker who does not believe in intrigue, fights and blackmailing” Hon Babalanda noted.
During her tenure, Babalanda said she will endeavor to further build the image of the Presidency as a matter of priority including also extending the services of the Office to the ordinary Ugandan as possibly as she can. She said, unscrupulous characters will not be entertained but also warned them against using her name in suspicious deals.
“We need to be very careful so that we do not fall victim to ruin our service and the confidence entrusted in us by the Principal…We have got to fight intrigue and cliques that fan these divisions. Those who are unfortunate to belong to these groups; you should learn from now that your time is very limited” She stated.
“I caution you nonetheless; that I do not expect anyone to use my name in any suspicious dealings. This would be a sure way of putting us on a confrontation course and I am afraid it will be a fatal error occasioned by that individual.” she added.
Under her leadership, Hon Milly Babalanda said all departments under her office have got to develop a culture of briefing the President on a weekly basis and implored the Heads of Department, through the Secretary to the President’s Office to furnish her with weekly briefs for onward sharing with Cabinet and the
She was sent a strong warning to Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) some of whom she accused for lack of focus, laziness and indiscipline while others are not cooperative and lack commitment. As a remedy, Minister Babalanda issued several directives to RDCs;
RDCs should henceforth stop operating from outside their stations and must reside in their districts of deployment to avoid operating on remote.
As Chairpersons of the District Security Committees, RDCs should have a 24/7 telephone access and that her office will provide all RDC’s offices with movable landlines to facilitate secretaries attend to all calls from the public without discrimination.
In addition, any RDC acting outside their mandate and caught red handed involved in corrupt acts will be immediately interdicted and charged in the Anti-Corruption Court. She said RDCs should lead by example and are instructed to share responsibilities with their deputies in order to cut red tape and to improve services.
She also hinted on future plans to provide uniforms and identification tags for our secretaries and office assistants in the RDC’s offices countrywide in order to eliminate conmen since there has been a culture where individuals crowd in the RDC offices with the objective of conning unsuspecting members of the public.
As Chief Government Communicators and monitors of public investments at the district level, RDCs should utilize the free government radio programs every Friday of the week to brief the public on implementation of government programs, counter lies of detractors as well as respond to public concerns on governance issues. against fabricated reports; “However, I do not expect fabricated and malicious reports by any of my staff. Authors of documents should own their reports. My duty is to present your reports to the Principal and Cabinet.”
She directed that all RDC offices should be opened to the public every working day at 8.00 am and closed by 5.00 pm. The offices should not at any time during business hours be without a senior staff or secretary responding to the public. She said the culture of having empty and/or closed offices of RDCs has ended today.
Minister Babalanda said RDCs should be at the forefront of monitoring developments in their respective districts and furnish her office with reports which will be used to provide regular updates to the public on progress of the NRM manifesto every 100 (one hundred) days. The intention she says is to help bring the public up to speed on what is being done and “to silence NRM’s critics.”
Under this strategy, Hon Babalanda says RDCs should form District Service Delivery and Economic Monitoring and Assessment Teams headed by the respective RDCs The RDC and include the area Members of Parliament, LC 5 Chairperson, City Mayor, Chief Administrative Officer, DISO, Town Clerk- in case of city, Sub-County Chairpersons, Sub-County Chiefs, District Planner, Division Mayors, and the Division Town Clerks.
The above, she said, should meet on a quarterly basis to analyze and report on service delivery and economic performance in the district.
She told RDCs to desist from internal fights and engaging in local politicking which involves taking sides. “RDCs are unifiers, chief mobilizers and central government representatives… I wish to caution RDCs that when you are appointed to this office you are public servants and you need to live up to this expectation. You cannot be RDC with an arrogant attitude towards the public… I don’t expect you to engage in divisive politics in your districts. I will not entertain it as your supervisor.”
“It is shameful for public officers who are working for the same government to engage in unproductive fights and disagreements which are usually caused by greed, selfish interests and failure to appreciate each one’s roles.”
To the Security Minister, Hon Babalanda appealed to the new leadership of ISO to come up with a plan to address acts of corruption, trading of intelligence and revealing sources of information, in-fighting amongst ISO staff, and Interference in each other’s operations. She pledged to give priority and support to any plan aimed at re-organizing the ISO.
In regard to rampant corruption in the country, Hon Babalanda said she has “a solid plan” which she will soon share with the respective teams under the ministry. She also pledged to work with the Minister of State for Ethics and Integrity to engage the IGG to work out a better plan of expediting prosecution of corrupt government officials if evidence is available.
She however pledged to maintain an open door policy where all your concerns of officials under her office without fear or favor and that she will not interfere with their operations as long as they are legal and in public interest.