Confusion As 4 Town Clerks Are Posted To Same Office In Kitgum

2645 Views Kitgum, Uganda

In short
Disagreements have emerged between Kitgum Town Council and the office of Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) after four town clerks were recently posted to the town council.

Disagreements have emerged between Kitgum Town Council and the office of Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) after four town clerks were recently posted to the town council.
The four are Harriet Atim, Wokorach Michael, Omoya Bezy Peter and George Albert Ochen. The town council leaders say this is a violation of the local government act that provides for only one town clerk in an urban council.
Richard Okwera Ojara, the Kitgum Town Council chairperson says confusion has emerged from the anomaly that has affected business in the council.
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Harriet Atim, a senior urban education officer, is the fourth personnel assigned last week to care take the office being controlled by Wokorach Michael. Shortly after posting Atim, Wokorach got instruction from the CAO to hand over office immediately. But he has stayed put citing lack of handover report.
The others are Omoya Bezy Peter serving as the Kitgum Hospital Administrator who was transferred to the same office in January 2014. The fourth incoming town clerk is Albert George Ochen who was interdicted in 2010 for financial impropriety.
Ojara says the Anti-Corruption Court has cleared Ochen and could be reinstated soon. He blames the CAO for assigning new personnel without allowing time for handover of office.
The chairperson says the confusion has resulted into the suspension of all council accounts; something he says has forced his council to operate without finances for at least 4 days. He wants the district to clarify which of the four town clerks his council should deal with.
But Rhoda Oroma, the Deputy CAO of Kitgum district, says the officially recognized town clerk for Kitgum Town council is Harriet Atim who was posted to the office last week. Oroma says Wokorach Michael; the acting town clerk is delaying to handover office to Atim since he was notified in January.
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The confusion started when the office of the town clerk fell vacant in 2010 following the interdiction of Ochen Albert George, the substantive town clerk over financial impropriety. He has since been cleared by the anti-corruption court in Kampala and is set to resume his office.
Oroma says Omoya’s appointment was withdrawn after he was implicated in January 2014 by a officials from State House Health Unit Monitoring team for abuse of office, forgery, false accounting, conspiracy to commit felony and swindling 36.7 million shillings from Kitgum main hospital where he worked as Hospital Administrator.
According to Oroma, posting Harriet Atim to the same office is based purely on her seniority as required by the law.
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The deputy head of civil servants in the district says Kitgum is struggling with inadequate personnel in her quest to deliver services to the population. She says Michael Wokorach will be deployed to a sub county whose accounting office is being controlled by a community development officer.


About the author

Peter Labeja
Peter Labeja has been a practicing journalist for the last 13 years during which he has covered part of the brutal conflict which bedeviled Northern Uganda as well as the painful transition to Peace thereafter. Emerging post conflict issues such as land rights of under privileged widows and orphans, challenges of access to social services in the immediate aftermath of Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda.

Labeja is now the Northern Uganda Bureau chief in Acholi Sub Region since 2014 - Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya and Omoro districts as well as South Sudan falls within his areas of jurisdiction. He previously worked with The Vision Group for four years.

Labeja’s major career interests are in Climate Change; Agriculture and Environment - natural resources such as Water, Oil and Gas; Transitional Justice; Human Rights, Democracy and Governance as well as South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis. In 2013, Labeja was awarded a prestigious Pan African Journalism Award for excellence in journalism at United Nation’s UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya for Climate Change and Health Reporting.