The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) has inducted new members of staff who were recently recruited through a tight, rigorous recruitment exercise. The two-day training which was opened by the Secretary to the Commission Mr Patrick Mabiiho Nyakaana on Thursday September 6, 2018 at Ridar Hotel, Seeta was largely composed of volunteers from the head office and the 10 regional offices. “I take this opportunity to welcome you to the Commission and congratulate you for having successfully gone through the rigorous interview process. I am sure all of you can testify that jobs at UHRC are offered on merit because I am sure none of you was offered a job because you knew somebody in the Commission,” Nyakaana said in his opening remarks.
He then detailed the history leading to a decision to set up a permanent National Human Rights Commission and the core mandate of the UHRC. He said between 1962 and 1986 Uganda suffered gross Human Rights violations which included extra-judicial killings, detention without trial and deprivation of right to property among other violations. He said in 1974 the first Commission of Inquiry was set up by then President Idd Amin Dada to inquire into human rights violations at the time. This was followed by the Justice Oder Commission set up in 1986 to inquire into human rights abuses from 1962 to 1986. “Oder Commission recommended that ‘never again’ should such abuses occur again. It also recommended the setting up of a permanent human rights body to protect and promote human rights. That recommendation gave birth to UHRC which is established under Article 51 of the 1995 Constitution and this constitutional provision is operationalized by the UHRC Act of 1997,” the Secretary, who is the Administrative head and accounting officer to the Commission, said. He also highlighted the Commission’s Vision, Mission, Core values as well as its partners.
The other facilitators at the induction training were the Senior Accountant in charge of Government of Uganda funds, Dennis Kakeeto who took the new staff through the internal control systems in relation to internal accounting procedures and the whole auditing process in the commission and the Senior Accountant in charge of Projects, Tadeo Wamala who explained the procedure in handling donor funds. The accountants guided the new recruits on the requirements for requisitioning for funds in the Commission such as ensuring that there is an approved budget; a work plan which must contain background information about the project being undertaken and the justification before requisitioning for funds.
The Human Resource Manager Aaron Birimbo explained the role of the Human Resource Unit on the employees’ ethics and integrity, the various policies and legal frameworks concerning Commission staff and how the Public Service Standing Orders (PSSO) apply to the new staff as well as the UHRC clients’ charter. He said the Commission has two categories of staff; the donor-funded and those paid by government of Uganda. He further urged the recruits to dedicate enough time to serve the people and be respectful not just to their fellow staff but to the people who will come in quest for UHRC services. Additionally, the Senior Human Resource Officer Ms Joan Kaampe Wasswa enlightened the new staff on how to make their action work plans and how to go about performance appraisal process.
Other facilitators included the Director of Monitoring and Inspection Ms Ruth Sekindi who explained the role of the directorate in relation to the Commission’s mandate. She said that the directorate is charged with a number of functions such as visiting detention places; monitoring government compliance to international treaties ratified; reviewing bills before parliament to ensure they do not violate people’s rights and publishing the mandatory annual and periodic reports among other activities. She said the directorate of Monitoring and Inspections for instance visited 1,033 detention places, hospitals and remand homes. Other presentations were made by Ms. Ida Nakiganda on the functions of the Complaints, Investigations and Legal Services (CILS) directorate and she tipped the new staff on investigative techniques and complaint resolution mechanisms like mediation and referral. Director Byonabye Kamadi of Research, Education and Documentation (RED) said the directorate he heads is primarily about human rights promotion and awareness creation as a means of fulfilling the Commission’s constitutional mandate. On his part, Mr Wilfred Asiimwe who is the Acting Director Regional Services said that the directorate centrally oversees all the regional and field offices of the Commission that are spread countrywide. He informed the new staff that a regional office is a full Commission performing all the constitutional functions of UHRC in a given region.
The new staff were also given highlights of the functions of the various Units within the Commission such as the Planning, Systems and Public Affairs Units. Mr Sulaiman Omitta who heads the Systems Unit; the Commission Planner Charles Mukasa and the Public Affairs Officer Justus Muhanguzi who represented the Public Affairs Manager Ms Florence Munyirwa, presented brief highlights of the roles of their respective Units to the new recruits and urged them to internalise the different functions.
While closing the two-day training, Commissioner Katebalirwe Amooti Wa Irumba who represented the Chairperson Mr Med Kaggwa said he was optimistic that the training had achieved the intended objective of equipping the new staff with information on the various functions of the Commission as well as creating a bond between the new staff and senior management. He urged the new staff to use the information acquired during the induction to achieve the mandate of the Commission.
The new recruits who participated in this training are; Makasi Edward, Kyomuhendo Jessicah, Baluku Didas, Mugume Ellen, Tumwine Agirl, Asekenye Norah, Ninsiima Hope, Esiku Walter, Asiimwe Allen, nakagigo Vivian, Okori Daniel, Kahuma Jimmy, Chitiga Ratib Fenduson, Amony Betty Bennadine, Owor Francis, Suuna Kenneth, Alex Bukumunhe, Mugoya Jonathan, Auma Vicky Gloria, Kemigisha Ivy, Okello Welborn, Nduggwa Ivan, Namono Miriam and Odongo Daniel D.