Public Service minister Wilson Muruli Mukasa has called for improvements in governance across the country if local leaders are to see a genuine transformation from poverty to middle-income status by 2020.
Speaking as a guest speaker at the Uganda Management Institute’s quarterly forum recently, Mukasa said there was some transformation but more needed to be done.
“People should not be discouraged [with what is happening now] ... things are slow but bureaucracy is gradually being phased out to make for effective service provision across the country,” he said.
He called for more incentives to encourage good leadership such as improved salaries and other better terms of service. Mukasa’s comments came as the UMI forum welcomed back its former deputy director general, now a UN expert on public administration and development management, Dr John Mary Kauzya.
In his presentation to the forum, Kauzya discussed transformational leadership, calling for measures that would lead Uganda to achieve sustainable development by 2030.
He asked leaders to improve their organisations, individuals, institutions and, finally, society. He discussed how the state had struggled to balance development ideals with popular attitudes of the time, in terms of ethics, integrity, professionalism and transparency.
Kauzya urged public servants to embrace inclusive growth and sustainable development to meet their 2030 agenda.
“It is important to embrace the kind of growth that leaves no one behind” he said.
Kauzya also had some advice for the National Planning Authority, which is working on the national development plan.
“We have attained the capacity to plan ... so, planning should be done in an integrated way to ensure shared development [in all sectors],” he said.
“Large-scale transformation may sound difficult or even impossible, but transformational leadership is exactly about taking on difficult and seemingly impossible strategic and future-oriented tasks.”
He also challenged the notion of first finding the resources to plan before actual planning happens.
“There has been the ad- age that we should plan according to the envelope [available resources]. However, we need to let the dreamers [planners] do the planning regardless of the funds and when these finally become avail- able, we will adjust accordingly.”
Kauzya also called for the reinstating of some public enterprises (parastatals), arguing that they were the best channel to development.
“What killed public enterprises had nothing to do with their structural arrangement but with the personal behaviours of those in management. So, they were not bad by themselves.”
Addressing local government leaders, he raised what he called a silent crisis. He cited middle-aged citizens who had never been formally employed.
“These people have never had the opportunity for any social welfare [such as pension] but they are now the parents of youths, who will soon get into their 40s, still unemployed. How are we addressing the social burden that the youth will impose on their already stressed parents?”
“In our development planning, we need to find a way of connecting the past generation with the present and future before they develop into a social crisis.”
Dr Johnson Byabashaija, the commissioner general of Uganda Prison Service, called for a solution to the disconnect between the middle-aged and those getting out of school.
“I agree that there is a serious problem in reference to the disconnect between the past, present and future. We all see the problem approaching but we are all hanging onto our jobs and no one is offering a solution.”
Muruuli Mukasa, however, said there had been some improvement.
“What is remaining is to set governance standards and raise the level of remuneration of our public servants.”