Nyombi Thembo, the former minister of state for Information and Communications Technology, ICT, has been appointed as director of the Rural Communications Development Fund - RCDF, a service fund managed by the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC).
The appointment ends a controversial recruitment process that had stalled following a petition lodged with the Inspectorate of Government by a whistle-blower.
The whistleblower argued that Nyombi Thembo was a direct supervisor of UCC when he was ICT minister and, therefore, had a strategic edge over other candidates.
The whistle-blower also accused Thembo of misusing his office, conflict of interest, influence peddling and engineering the recruitment process to suit his own personal interests.
Thembo, the former Member of Parliament for Kassanda South, applied for the job after losing his parliamentary seat to former police spokesman Simeo Nsubuga. He emerged as the most qualified candidate at the expense of eight other finalists. The recruitment process was managed by ABS Consulting Group.
As a result of conflict of interest concerns, the UCC board chairman, Dr Vincent Kasangaki, sought guidance from the Inspectorate of Government on the appointment, which, according to the job advert published last year, tasks the candidate to provide strategic leadership and management of the Fund.
The IGG gave the board a go-ahead to appoint Thembo to the position. He started working on Monday, January 9. The Rural Communications Development Fund (RCDF) was established to support the development of commercially-viable communications infrastructure in rural Uganda.
It was designed to be funded from a two percent levy on the operator’s gross annual revenues but has also benefited from contributions from the government and the World Bank.
Projects implemented by the fund include; internet points of presence, internet cafes, ICT training centres, public payphones, district web portals, multi-purpose community tele-centres, postal projects, school ICT laboratories, health ICT facilities, voice network sites, content development projects and local governance projects, among others.