EAC draws plan to fix recruitment row

EAC draws plan to fix recruitment row
EALA legislators hold a session in 2019 in Arusha (photo credit: courtesy)

The East African Community (EAC) Council of Ministers has agreed to resolve the concern over the recruitment procedures of individuals next month.

Earlier this month, the members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) South Sudan Chapter protested the East African Community’s recruitment in a letter addressed to EAC Secretary-General after only 14 applicants were shortlisted.

The EAC General Secretary wrote back in response to South Sudan’s request for affirmative action promising it would be fulfilled-a decision disputed as politically driven.

Speaking to The City Review yesterday, Dr Woda Odok Jeremiah—a lawmaker representing South Sudan at EALA—said the recruitment row will be resolved in the Council of Ministers meeting scheduled for November 5.

She said the Minister for East African Affairs Deng Alor Kuol and his Undersecretary Andrea Aguer Ariik Malueth were expected to attend the meeting to address the outstanding issues.

Plan to resolve issues

“There are issues but on the 5th of this November, everything will be cleared because there will be a Council of Ministers’ meeting whereby our minister is supposed to be there and I am very sure that our undersecretary Andrea Aguer will be there representing South Sudan, and we will see the final decision from there,” Dr Woda explained.

Suspension of recruitment

The Council of Ministers suspended the recruitment over alleged unfair treatment of citizens from Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Uganda and promised to investigate allegations of irregularities and corruption claimed by selected partner states.

The decision was welcomed by South Sudan and members of partner states.

Dr Anne Itto a member of parliament at the EALA said the country had the least number of shortlisted applicants out of over 300 shortlisted candidates.

“Of slightly over 300 people shortlisted, Tanzania had 83, Kenya had 73, Rwanda and Uganda had 53, Burundi had 35 people shortlisted and South Sudan had only 14. So, to ask this suspension of recruitment is to our advantage. If we have good people sitting here, they are going to be checking everything and making sure that we are not only treated fairly but also our affirmative action. This is what we are fighting for,” Dr Itto said.

Kenedy Mukulia said suspending the recruitment was rightfully placed because what happened was not according to the interest of the community.

Another lawmaker, Kim Gai vowed that they would continue to fight for transparency and accountability in the regional bloc till the right procedures are followed.

“And our position is the affirmative action should apply on these 17 institutions which are headed by the executive director and deputy director,” said Kim.

Neglected

Six out of the nine South Sudan Chapter members supported the decision to halt the recruitment, therefore resulting in ousting of the former chairperson of the Chapter Thomas Dut Gatkek. 

The Chapter elected Anne Itto Leonardo as its new Chairperson to replace the ousted Gatkek. The Chapter moreover decided to form a three-member committee to address the issue by holding discussions with EAC General Secretary, Peter Mathuki.

The committee was to include the former and incumbent Chapter chairpersons and the Undersecretary of the Ministry of East African Affairs Andrea Aguer Ariik Malueth.

The regional bloc             

The East African Community is an organ of the Council of Ministers which provides recommendations to the council.

The Secretariat advertised positions that were to be filled by partner states nearly five months ago to bridge the gap of the exiting 52 employees between July and November next year.

According to EAC official website, EAC observes the highest standards of efficiency, technical competence, professionalism, and integrity and any citizen of the partner state is eligible to apply for any vacant position.

It is said to be committed to observing equal representation and non-discrimination in the recruitment process through a quota system regardless of race, religion, or gender. EAC has about 400 employees.

MORE FROM NATIONAL