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Lamwo RDC launches crackdown on staff absenteeism

Lamwo RDC Osborn Oceng.

Lamwo, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT |The Lamwo Resident District Commissioner Geoffrey Osborn Oceng, has asked the Chief Administrative Officer to act upon civil servants who report late for work and leave earlier than the normal time.

In his November 24, 2022 letter, Oceng notes that in his last four months of work in Lamwo, he has been concerned about the chronic late reporting to work by staff accompanied by the high rate of absenteeism.

Oceng noted that a day before he wrote the letter, only the CAO and planner were at work by 8:30am. According to Oceng, frequent absenteeism and late reporting to work are affecting the performance of some officers in question.

“A public officer is a servant with a duty to give services to the general public, and is employed in public trust that the whole of his or her time is at the disposal of the government,” the letter reads in part.

Oceng directed the CAO to provide effective leadership and performance management in the public service in Lamwo district and asked him to “radically bring to normalcy compliance in public servants observing the government official working hours.”

Sisto Oyet Ocen, the Lamwo LC V chairperson told Uganda Radio Network on Monday that only an estimated 20 percent of civil servants are residing at their duty station. The government’s official working hours from Monday to Friday are 8:00 am-12:45pm and 2:00pm to 5:00pm.

However, Ocen said the majority of civil servants, both at the district and sub-county level, report to work as late as 11am, and after eating lunch at 1pm, return to Kitgum, where most of them are staying.

He revealed that at health centers, medical workers who are supposed to be on night duty or on call are always absent, which he said is causing a lot of suffering to the patients.

In July this year, the RDC verbally instructed all civil servants to reside within the district, saying commuting to work from Kitgum daily was affecting service delivery. However, Oyet said the matter was not implemented, but this time, they are going to take action.

Oyet also added that he will write a letter to the District Police Commander to ensure that all official vehicles are parked at the headquarters at 5pm. He said the directive will also affect the sub-county workers, some of whom he said do not go to their workstations at all.

James Okumu Bedijo, the Lamwo Chief Administrative Officer said they will emphasize the need for reporting early to work in their forum of the district technical planning committee and share their activity schedule with the RDC so that he knows which officer is where and at which time. Bedijo however noted that sometimes, officers start working from the field, which is why they go to the office late.

Bedijo also noted that due to the remoteness of the district, the workers are few, which causes a backlog, especially for the field-based workers. He however said they are committed to working together to improve the service delivery in the district.

Lamwo district started operating on July 1st, 2009 but 13 years later, the civil servants still commute daily from Kitgum, which is approximately 66 kilometers away.

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