Removal of Gulu CAO Illegal - Local Govt PS

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In short
Embattled Gulu chief administrative officer Dorothy Magoola Ajwang has said government should consider enhancing her personal security while she resumes her duties in the district. This comes after Ben Kumumanya, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government nullified the March 1, 2017 district council resolution that removed Ajwang from office.

Embattled Gulu chief administrative officer Dorothy Magoola Ajwang has said government should consider enhancing her personal security while she resumes her duties in the district.
 
This comes after Ben Kumumanya, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government nullified the March 1, 2017 district council resolution that removed Ajwang from office.
 
In a letter dated March 16th, 2017 that became public today, the Permanent Secretary said Gulu district council acted illegally to pass the resolution since it is the preserve of the Public Service Commission and the Secretary to Treasury to remove an accounting officer.
 
Quoting Article 188 (2) and 200 (4) of the 1995 Constitution, Kumumanya stated that "the powers to exercise disciplinary control over the chief administrative officers is vested in the Public Service Commission but not with the district council".
 
Citing section 11 (g) of the 2015 Public Finance and Management Act, he contends that powers to remove accounting officers and town clerks is vested in the secretary to the treasury.
 
Kumumanya condemned the rising trend of districts and municipal councils passing resolutions to remove accounting officers from their stations saying they are illegal.
 
In the letter, Kumumanya insists that Dorothy Magoola Ajwang is still, until otherwise advised, the Chief Administrative Officer and Accounting Officer of Gulu district and that she should therefore be allowed to execute her duties without any inconveniences.

The letter is addressed to district chairpersons and mayors in Uganda and copied to Minister of Local Government, state minister for Local Government, and resident district commissioners among others.
 
According to the technical guidance, section 68 of the Local Government Act has been repealed under local government Amended Act No. 16 of 2010 which provides that "the chief administrative officer shall be removed from office in accordance with articles 188 (2) and 200 (4) of the Constitution.  
 
 On Tuesday last week, five members of Gulu district executive Committee stormed the office of CAO demanding that Ajwang hands over the office to them. They accused her of illegally occupying the office after council unanimously passed a resolution to eject her over incompetence, abuse of office and embezzlement amongst others.
 
Speaking to URN, Ajwang says the guidance of the permanent secretary is "a big victory" over those who sought to blackmail her and hurt her career. "I am still the CAO of Gulu and I am very willing to continue serving the people of Gulu. Because of the hostile environment, I need security in order to resume my duties," she added with happiness in her voice.
 
Those who sought to kick Ajwang from the office are yet to comment on the latest development.

 

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.