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KEYNOTE ADDRESS TO RDCs, DEPUTY RDCs, DISOs

DURINGTHE RDC RETREAT HELD AT THE NATIONAL LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE (NALI)
KYANKWANZI

BY

            HON.FRANK TUMWEBAZE, MP            
              MINISTER IN CHARGE OF THE PRESIDENCY/KCCA

ORGANIZED BY
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT

8TH– 18TH APRIL 2015
Honourable Colleague Ministers, Secretary Office of the President and staff, RDCs, D/RDCs, DISOs, CAOs,ladies and gentlemen; allow meto welcome you to yet another very importantretreat. It is very important because for the first time we are bringing together RDCs, DRDCs, District Internal Security Officers (DISOs) and Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs). This has been after realisation of the need for you to coordinate and move as a team with the same objective.

I would like to thank the Secretary Office of the President and the staff for organizing this retreat.
By now, you all know the evolution of the institution of RDCs/DRDCs and therefore I will not repeat it but rather go straight to my speech. I willstart with the following;
1.    His Excellency the President listened to your plea in your memorandum at last year’s retreat and your fuel has been enhanced. I will also continue to discuss with Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to see that your fuel for monitoring is further increased gradually.
However, for the Office of the President to convince government on the role of RDCs/DRDCs and need for further facilitation, you must prove your worth and relevance.You should therefore perform your core mandate.
The Office of the President is a bit disappointed with the habitually part time RDCs/DRDCs in districts. We are receiving information through Intelligence as well as other sourcesand we are well aware of those of you who have been regularly absent from your stations without official leave from the Office of the President. Irrespective of what justification you may have, those of you who have been in the habit of absenting yourselves for prolonged terms without approval from Office of the President have exhibited the highest form of corruption by continuously drawing salaries and monitoring funds which you have not worked for. I am therefore cautioning you against this vice.

2.    We must all adopt a standard method of work. If it’s monitoring, what is it that the RDC should pay attention to on routine basis? His Excellency has firmly given instructions on the following;
-    Discovering whether services and resources meant for the people are received. For instance, are teachers getting their salaries? Are the teachers teaching or are they spending the whole day under the mango trees conversing? Is the Operation Wealth Creation reaching the beneficiaries for whom it is intended? Monitor the roads and find out whether government is being overpriced. Find out whether veterinary drugs are being diverted. All leaders at the district should make sure that the government programmes benefit the ordinary person. This is your primary responsibility.  
-    Sensitization of the public about how to live right. District officials should help government eliminate loopholes that can cause diseases or poverty. I urge you to work like you owe this nation a service. Building of a nation is not a duty, it’s a pleasure to all that love their country and there is no price tag to this. No salary is suitable enough for a man that builds their nation. Therefore when you are at work, bear in mind that this is your Country.
His Excellency also emphasised that you should listen to petitions from citizens, coordinate crime and intelligence reports with technical actors like DISO and Police.
The Ministry of Information and National Guidance has secured free airtime on most upcountry radios and even some radios are always willing to host you at any time to pass on messages relating to government programmes. If most of you have not yet taken this seriously, how then will you undertake your other major tasks of communicating government programmes?The Country is at a time when people are being manipulated into acts of civil disobedience through misinformation; to tackle this, you must actively utilize this government airtime to bridge this information gap by sensitizing the public about government programmes, achievements, plans and opportunities available for the general population.

You should also be at the vanguard of eradicating sectarian tendencies that threaten the peace and stability of this Country by preaching Nationalism, Pan Africanism, Social Economic transformation and Patriotism as uniting principles upon which the NRM government is built and has stayed in power for this long. This warrants that you must yourselves be ideologically upright, comprehendthe above core principles and be able to clearly articulate them to the public.

Through the radios and other field outreach programmes, the population should be mobilized to engage in improved production for the enhancement of household incomes. It should be made clear that whereas government has its role to play mainly establishment of infrastructures, peace and stability, etc., the citizenry ought to selfishly work towards bettering their individual households. The cumulative effect will be growth of well-organized neighbourhoods capable of demanding and affording better services both through public and private arrangements.
As has been seen in many areas, it is possible to be poor even when economic development is skyrocketing because there is no direct relationship between wealth and economic development. However, it is possible to attract development to your area once people are rich.
My message here is simple, you are in positions of influence and you should use these positions to help people get out of poverty. But you should also do the same for your households and live exemplary lives.

I urge you not to look at your current positions/deployment especially RDCs/DRDCs asa career because you can be dropped at any time for one reason or another. It is your chance to render service to this country but as you do so, think about using the meagre resources you earn to also better yourselves by engaging in income generating activities through your families. It is heartening to find a former RDC looking very miserable even those who have served for quite long simply because you do not plan for your future. However, do not engage in unbecoming activities to achieve this but rather actively participate in government programmes without abandoning your duty stations.

3.    For those of you intending to enter elective politics, you will be given a chance to declare so. However it is also very wrong for you to abandon your stations and relocate to your constituencies to engage in early politicking.
Thosedeployed in your home districts and intend to contest in, please avoid putting the image of this office in disrepute. I know that some of you have gone to the extent of hanging posters for your campaigns on our offices in the districts. This should stop and those of who had done this already, please have these posters removed even before we finish this retreat.
Please do not accept to be used to further people’s political ambitions or actively engage in local politics. You should by all means strive to be above the local politics or else you end up compromised. My office has received many complaints from the public that some of you are actively campaigning and/or de-campaigning people in your districts.

4.    Do not turn your offices into Local Council courts/offices where each and every petty matter is reported. The more you occupy yourself with petty issues, the more you divert from your core mandate and thus fail in your work. You should aim at decongesting your offices by sensitizing and empowering lower local councils to deal with matters so that your office is looked at as an appellant office in respect to arbitration of cases. Do not get too local as some of you have been. This will help give reference to the cases you handle and also decongest your offices. Am happy that some of you had already succeeded in this.
I also implore you that before you recommend/refer any matter or person to my office, be convinced that it’s beyond your ability to handle. Do not push your responsibility to the centre. Also ensure that you carry out due diligence on the people you recommend to my office or any other office for assistance because some of you are being played and you end up recommending con men and lunatics. Therefore verify the kind of persons you refer to other offices but also learn to tell people the truth especially those with non-issues.

5.    We shall once again in this retreat through various presentations take you through how to source information about government programmes and how to communicate it even when I personally presented and discussed this for your concept at last year’s retreat.

As your supervising Minister and Office of the President in general, I expect you to pay keen attention to the following core activities/functions;
1.    Periodic inspection and monitoring of government programmes with special attention to areas identified above. Once again let me re-emphasize that as a monitor/inspector, you need to know what to inspect.
In the past, His Excellency has directed that RDCs/DRDCs should launch/commission all projects/programmes in districts whether government or NGO funded. However, I am reliably informed that some Chief Administrative Officers have stubbornly refused to avail you information regarding these programmes or you have been deliberately sidelined by the different implementing entities.
I will use this retreat as an opportunity to once again talk to the CAOs about the need to avail you with this information to assist you in monitoring. However, I know that some of you have failed to access this information because you have failed to create a harmonious working environment with the CAOs and other district leaders. Therefore be accommodative and involving of others in your monitoring activities.

2.    Communicating relevant and factual messages/information about government programmes in your respective districts to the community and highlighting government achievements in each Financial Year or even a quarter of Financial releases.
It is clear that some of the current challenges in society like youth unemployment are not necessarily insolvable but rather enhanced by information gaps about government programmes and the various opportunities available especially for the youth to take advantage of and rid themselves of poverty.
Your sensitization should therefore be geared towards addressing the key questions in society by providing practical solutions and this will only be possible if you are knowledgeable about what government is doing, planning to do and opportunities available for all.

3.    Being resident and full time in your districts and therefore taking full charge of your stations. You are not only civil servants but security chiefs and therefore should be alert all the time. I am reliably informed that many of you are visiting RDCs/DRDCs and in some cases your offices have been almost permanently under DISOs. This should stop immediately.

4.    Convene and chair Security meetings. You should make sure that Security meetings are convened as regular as they ought to be so as to give a platform for all the Security actors in the district to come together and coordinate work.
This is your Constitutional mandate but I know that some of you have resorted to holding mere informal security consultative meetings rather than the mandatory District Security Committee and District Intelligence Committee meetings.
As Office of the President, we shall be assessing you on these core tasks.
Your monthly reports should as well highlight what has been done and achieved along these tasks.  I would like to further advise you to separate Incidental reports from the routine monthly reports. While monthly reports will be general covering how your office has tackled the above tasks, incidental reports should be on specific incidents e.g. detailing a particular corruption case, Insecurity or some unusual occurrence like an epidemic in your district that you wish government to either immediately respond to or advise on.
Incidental reports can be submitted to my office at any time as you also continue with the routine monthly reports. However, in all these reports strive for completeness, accuracy and timeliness. You should therefore submit your reports monthly as required and not combining them to reflect what has occurred in a particular month or else your reports are rendered obsolete.
As I advised last year in my key note address, to ensure completeness, your report should answer the questions of what, When, Where, How and Who?These should guide not only your reporting but also help you in inquiries to obtain facts which you will then feed in your reports. Strive for consistency so as to reflect progression of events in your districts. For instance; if last month you reported about poor state of roads in your district, in your action you had brought it to the attention of Sector Engineer UNRA or District Engineer and maybe they made a pledge, your subsequent report should reflect whether the situation has improved or not (current status).This is the idea in progressive reports.
Failure to report is a sign of unseriousness and each of you will be held responsible for that.

We now have requisite capacity in Office of the President to review all your reports in time and take appropriate action. Some government agencies are also beginning to take seriously the feedback you give to Central Government through your reports. So always ensure that you report factually and not just based on hearsay. You are lucky to be associated with the DISOs who are also staff of Office of the President and are technical in their field, therefore make good use of each other.

By nature of your work, we do not expect you to make friends in your districts but as much as possible try to create good working relationships and teamwork. In order to do this, you need to understand the people you are going to work with i.e. their strengths, weaknesses, character and relate them with yourself. It is not enough to know your neighbours’ weaknesses without carefully assessing yourself. Many of you have found problems in your respective stations because you have missed this very important point. For instance if you are an aggressor, how do you foster a good working relationship with a fellow aggressor.
When you are posted to a district, it is not the people you find there who should adjust to you but rather you to adjust and fit in them. If you can understand this, I believe you will be successful in your respective districts and the image of the office you hold will be enhanced.
I commend those of you who are doing a commendable job but also encourage you not to settle for that. Strive to become a better you every now and then, seek guidance where necessary and enrich yourself with knowledge of your district, Country and the global environment. Only then will you be able to remain relevant in this dynamic world.

I thank you for listening to me. It's now my great honourand pleasure to declare this retreatofficially open!

Frank Tumwebaze (MP)
MINISTER IN CHARGE OF THE PRESIDENCY AND Kampala Capital City