Bitter row erupts over control of Multi-billions projects in Internal Affair Ministry

(Left) Dr Benon Mutambi (Right) Gen. Jeje Odongo

A bitter row is brewing in the internal affairs ministry after the permanent secretary, Dr Benon Mutambi, sought to control the multi-billion budgets of the Police, prisons, immigrations and other entities.

However, the heads of the respective institutions are against Mutambi’s proposal to the finance and public service ministries, which has sparked off a clash between Mutambi and the leaders of the selfaccounting entities. In a letter to the finance and public service ministries, Mutambi noted that the Public Service Act 2008 makes it clear that the permanent secretary is the one in charge of management and administration of a ministry.

“In spite of that clarity in respect of the roles and functions of the permanent secretary, the creation of autonomous votes in ministries with designated accounting officers has severely undermined the mandate of the permanent secretaries,” Mutambi wrote.

He added:

“Permanent secretaries in ministries where several such votes have been created, such as the Ministry of Internal Affairs, are facing challenges in exercising supervisory roles, running the ministry as a coherent unit, ensuring effective implementation of government policies and providing effective management and administration of the ministry.”

Besides seeking to control budgets, Mutambi also wants a restructure of the Police, prisons, the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigrations Control (DCIC), National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) and the Directorate of Government Analytical Laboratory (DGAL), so they come under the direct control of the permanent secretary.

Gen. Mondo complains

In a letter dated September 20, 2017, the DCIC board chairperson, Maj. Gen. (rtd) Emilio Mondo, noted that Mutambi wrote to the public service ministry requesting for a restructuring exercise without clearance from his ministry’s political leaders and without due regard to other DCIC stakeholders.

“On account of this, he (Mutambi) has appointed himself to chair his constituted restructuring committee meeting albeit in the absence of other key stakeholders. As a result, his one-man restructuring exercise has ignored the existing draft policy of immigration, which validates any restructuring of the directorate,” Mondo pointed out.

In the letter addressed to the internal affairs minister, Gen. Jeje Odongo, Mondo accused Mutambi of erroneously quoting article 174 of the Constitution to justify his actions as contained in his (Mutambi’s) letter to the public service ministry permanent secretary dated February 21, 2017.

Mondo said Mutambi wants vote 120 (DCIC budget) to revert to his office, yet it is supposed to be independent with its accounting officer (director) as per article 164 of the Constitution. He branded Mutambi’s demand to put DCIC under him as illegal, uncalled for and an attempt to usurp the mandate of the board as provided for in the Uganda Citizenship and Immigration Control Act Cap 66.

Whereas employees of the directorate are public servants and are, therefore, bound by the Public Service Act and regulations, Mondo urged Mutambi to use proper administrative procedure. In case of absence of a board, Mondo said this has created serious challenges, citing increased backlog of applications for immigration services.