KAMPALA —Mr. Pius Bigirimana, the Permanent Secretary to the Judiciary has called for immidate reforms in the country’s public service to improve service delivery.
Speaking at the launch of his new book titled, “Unchained: A Public Servant with a Private Sector mindset” Mr. Bigirimana urged that public servants ought to be conscious and deal with challenges of the country— urging they should only achieve this by adopting a private sector mind that he says is result-oriented.
In his book, Bigirimana also attributes poor service delivery in the public service sector to officials who leave areas where they are qualified and go where they are least able to offer good service.
“Most of our problems in public service are created by Mandate Migration. You’re leaving where you have competence to an area where you don’t have competence causing the country double jeopardy,” he said. “Where you have have left, things aren’t being done, and where you have gone, you’re simply messing up things because you’re not competent in that field”.
Mr. Bigirimana who has worked in the public service for over 30 years and serving different capacities including as Permanent Secretary, one of the highest positions in the country’s public service says mandate migration is a major impendment to the country’s growth and asked the authorities in public service to deal with it decisively.
Bigirimana also urges that public servants must learn, have passion and develop love for their country if they are to serve better.
“My main argument in the book is that at the individual level, there is a lack of conceptual clarity to have a deep understanding of one’s work. For example, if you are a permanent secretary, do you know the work of the permanent secretary? If you are a judge, do you know that you are a judge? That’s why I am saying induction must be done for all public servants,” he said, noting that public servant must have a positive, adaptive and resilient hunger for excellence, personal improvement and the intentional willingness to grow and and grow others.
“We have got people who are in positions and don’t understand who they are. It is the reason induction right at the start needs to be done. The time of mind that public servants for example positive or thinking out of the box will determine how they operate.”
Bigirimana argues that public servants can deliver the best possible quality of public service if they on a private sector mindset.
He also urges that the idea of public service is not alien or novel to Uganda’s socio-cultural topography.
Public Service has, in fact, been the cultural responsibility of individuals to do their part in sustaining the health, wealth and overall success of their communities ever since clan and tribal groupings were constituted.
Speaking at the event, Chief justice Alfonse Owiny Dollo praised Bigirimana—describing his book as a must have information bank for every public servant.
“Many Permanent Secretaries I have worked with are desk officers. This is not the case with Bigirimana. He is always in the field and it is a new thing and this is what he explains as being unchained in his new book. He has taken a paradigm shift in handling the work of public service,” CJ Dollo said.
He said Bigirimana will be remembered for overseeing the construction of the appellant courts buildings in record time and with value for money.
The Chief Justice revealed that the judiciary plans to recruit more staff to ensure that people do not travel long distances to access justice in their localities.
“We have recruited 300 Magistrates in one Financial Year, we would recruit five Chief Magistrates, now we have recruited 80 of them, the Chief Justice said, noting that “in the couple of years also, the situation permiting, we should have a Chief Magistrate in every every district,” the Chief Justice Owinyi Dollo said. “We should have a Magistrate One in every consistency in this country. We should have a situation where people don’t have to a travel from Kisoro to Kampala if you’re logging an appeal. You now be stopping in Mbarara, Fort Portal, Mubende, Masaka, Jinja, Mbale Gulu and Arua as Courts of Appeal.”
The Chief Justice added that his administration is also working on expanding the base of the High Court to enable people to walk or ride bicycles to Court.
Ms. Lucy Nakyobe, the Head of Public Service who wrote the Forward in Bigirimana’s book said the book has made her work easy.
“The message in the book says yes we can and means a public servant can deliver quality services if only, they can tune their minds to be like those of the ones driving the private sector. I call upon fellow public servants to read the book so as to borrow a leaf,” Nakyobe said.
The deputy Chief Justice, Richard Buteera, Justice Stella Arach and several other Permanent Secretaries among other guests attended the book launch.