GULU-UGANDA: The day was 25th December 1954 when he was born,
He died three years ago,
That is Vincent Opio Lukone.
He tough us to loved people,
He taught us the respect even person we have never met.
And he tough us to work hard,
The late Vincent Opio was a loving father,
Humble and with great humility, was the late dad Vincent Opio Lukone, the lat born of the late Opio concluded.
Strengthening the public sector leadership was a team foundation memorial lecture.
By Prof. Peter John Opio
I am deeply honored to discuss the paper of my colleague, Professor Gerald Kagambirwe Karyeija at this inaugural lecture in honor of one of our gaillant and outstanding public servant, the late Mr. Opio-lukone.
Before making my responses o the paper, I join the family, the Republic of Uganda, the Guest of Honor, Cabinet Ministers, Head of the Public of Public, all the distinguished guests, the all Acholi Community and the citizen of Uganda in celebrating the man whose selfess compromising sense of integrity, and whose meticulous dedication to work.
And commitment to services excellence (a man satisfied with nothing, but the best) without any doubt, renders him exemplary servant leader an inspiration to all public servants.
The guest of honour pondering the life of Mr. Lukone provides great hope to this country that notwithstanding its numerous challenges the public services remains vital, not merely for services delivery, but above all as the bed-rock for attaining and sustaining national competitiveness.
Hi life challenges public services actors, especially those who hold vital positions, to place the good of the public, above their own; rather than subjugate the good f the citizens, especially the most vulnerable, to their personal interests.
Above all, to mention who they are by design meant to be Public services and not public masters.
I command the key notes speaker, Prof. Kagambire, for drawing our attention to what constitutes the raison d’être or the soul of public and administration; namely, the pursuit of the interest of other.
Although the paper does not elaborately dwell on the mechanisms for affecting the much-touted paradigm shift from Administration to New Public Management, it cogently underlines the need to mainstream public interest across the public sector.
Indeed, a crucial challenges that must be addressed with urgency, is greed and self-serving cult among public servants. Of course, this is not a new challenge, nor is it unique to our context.
In his work The Government Inspector the Russian playwright Nicolai Gogal, as far back as 1836, in a line that serves as classic indictment of public services, quipped that “Public policy” often becomes “Public private profit”.
Namely, as long as public employees (from top leadership to low level employees) put their interest first, effective services deliver will continue to remain a remote dream, to the chagrin of our national competitiveness.
With these remarks, I wish to focus on the crucial issues of performance in relation to efficient services delivery and national competiveness. How efficient and completive is our public services? What factors undermine public sector productivity? What solutions?
As a discussant, I want to state my point of departure: I will to do what phenomenologist do: appeal to the “lived experience” (menschlichen dasein) ofpublic services providers and service recipients.
This rather than empirical findings, constitute my unit of analysis, I will lay bare, unmask and bracket received but unexamined assumptions, myths, fables and hyperboles about the public sector, new public management. Where does the challenge really lie, and where is the solution intimately?
I will focus my remarks/discussion on three thematic areas which I believe are tangential to achieving a transformed and competitive pubic service in Uganda as follow:
Firstly, public policy, procedures and productivity challenges, secondly the myopia of permanent contracts and the shift towards performance contract, lastly accountability, probity and sanctions, I will conclude with suggestions on public sector leadership.