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Councilor Seeks Resignation of Workers’ Rep. for Clinging on Public Office

By the time of his election, the workers representative James Ocan Oyaro was serving as the Human Resource Personnel Officer at Patongo Town Council. He was subsequently appointed the Senior Assistant Secretary for Lamiyo Sub County in Agago district, an office he assumed on Friday.
A petition filed by Stanley Odong challnging the election of the Workers Concillor for Agago Photo By Dan M Komakech

Audio 3

Stanley Richard Odong, a councillor representing Wol Sub County in Agago District is demanding the resignation of the district Male Workers’ Representative for failing to relinquish a public office.

By the time of his election, the workers representative James Ocan Oyaro was serving as the Human Resource Personnel Officer at Patongo Town Council. He was subsequently appointed the Senior Assistant Secretary for Lamiyo Sub County in Agago district, an office he assumed on Friday.

But Odong argues that Oyaro cannot concurrently work as a policymaker and as a policy implementer because there is a likelihood that his independence will be compromised during the formulation of policies, budget appropriation, and implementation. Odong has petitioned the office of the Chief Administrative Officer and the Electoral Commission over the same.

According to Odong, the Constitution of Uganda, the Local Government Act and the Public Service Standing Orders bar civil servants from holding political office and engaging in active politics. The Local Government Act provides that any person holding a public office should resign before nominations if they wish to be elected for any political position.

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Odong now wants the office of the Chief Administrative Officer to compel Oyaro to either relinquish his position as the Senior Assistant Secretary or as district councillor representing workers other than occupying two public offices concurrently.

The Agago district Chief Administrative Officer Stephen Oloya Gunya acknowledges receiving the petition saying indeed the law bars civil servants from engaging in active politics and being a politician in a district council that employs them. Oloya however says his office is seeking the legal opinion of the Solicitor General on the representation of special interests groups before appropriate action is taken.

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The Agago district Returning Officer Richard Olar Onooba says THAT during their elections, the law provided that special interest groups including worker’s representatives should elect persons within their categories and their elections can only be reversed by an order of a competent court. Onooba however admits there has been a lacuna in the law regarding the elections of civil servants as representatives of workers in the district council.

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A similar issue manifested in the previous local government council where two active civil servants were elected to represent workers in the district council although they both opted not to accomplish their tenure over public concerns and inconsistencies over their elections. 

The duo; John Ojwiya, the Community Development Officer for Patongo Town Council and Suzan Awor, the Senior Assistant Secretary for Wol Sub County were both asked by the then Chief Administrative Officer to either resign or retain their service with the district.