Interviews for EAC jobs postponed following Uganda's protest

East African Community flags

East African Community flags

Interviews for several East African Community (EAC) secretariat jobs that were planned to commence from October 18 until November 2 have been postponed due to lack of quorum.

The secretariat early this year, advertised over 50 jobs attracting more than 15,000 applications. However, there have been concerns, especially from Uganda over the alleged unequal distribution of the jobs among the six-member states of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Rwanda and Burundi. 

Ugandan legislator, Denis Namara has been at the forefront of questioning this recruitment process, staging walk-outs during parliamentary sessions - forcing the speaker of the house Martin Ngoga to suspend sittings, while some Ugandans; Peter Kigozi an accountant and Bernard Wasswa a lawyer have run to the East African Court of Justice to stop the process.

The two claim that their chances of getting a job were slim as the directive of the 42nd Extra-Ordinary EAC Council of Ministers that the recruitment panel be composed of at least a representative from each of the partner states was ignored. 

Over the weekend, Uganda's First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for East African Affairs Rebecca Kadaga wrote a letter to the partners that the interviews be deferred until the matter is sorted out. 

Kadaga says that EAC partner states agreed that a partner state must have points in order for its citizens to be considered eligible candidates and that at the beginning of each recruitment exercise, the EAC secretariat shall inform each partner state about her balance of weighted points. 

“I, therefore, reiterate my country's position that there should be no interviews conducted unless and until all the partner states have been given information about its quota. This will eliminate the partner states that have exhausted their quotas and therefore ineligible to participate in this exercise,” Kadaga wrote to partners and Peter Mathuki, the secretary general of the East African Community.   

She said one of the reasons the old EAC collapsed was the disproportionate sharing of the benefits of the community. Now in a press release, the East African Community says that following successful profiling and shortlisting the interviews will not commence as scheduled due to quorum. 

The interviews have therefore been postponed to a later date that will be communicated accordingly.  

“The secretariat made all the arrangements for the shortlisted candidates to participate in the interviews through the video conferencing facilities at the ministries of EAC Affairs in the partner states,” the statement reads.  

It further says that the EAC is committed to providing equal opportunity for all East Africans. Some of the contentious positions include that of the deputy clerks of the assembly.  

According to the breakdown at the secretariat, Rwanda and South Sudan have no staff at the secretariat, Uganda has two and Burundi has one. Tanzania and Kenya have four and five respectively.     

Other jobs include administrative officers, human resource officers, communications officers, health officers, civil engineers, aviation officers, research officers among others. 36 Ugandans have been shortlisted for over 60 jobs. 

© 2016 Observer Media Ltd