EAC staff recruitment runs into legal hurdles

Saturday September 18 2021
East African Community offices

East African Community offices. Two citizens claim that the current recruitment does not take into consideration South Sudanese and must be stopped. PHOTO | FILE


Two Ugandans have moved to court to block the recruitment of staff at the East African Community, citing a breach of the Treaty.

In a case filed before the East African Court of Justice, Waswa Bernard, a lawyer, and Kigozi Peter, an accountant, are seeking a temporary injunction to stop the recruitment. In their application, both Mr Waswa and Mr Kigozi claim that the 42nd Extra-Ordinary EAC Council of Ministers directed the Secretariat to start recruitment of about 50 staff for various organs and institutions.

However, their directive that the recruitment and interview panel be composed of one member from the EAC Secretariat and a representative from each partner state was not in conformity with the EAC Treaty.

“Prior to making this decision, the Council of Ministers should have reviewed or amended the above regulation in accordance with the requirements of regulation of the staff rules before making such a decision.”

Mr Waswa claims his chances of working for the Community will be “extinguished” if the matter is not urgently addressed. The applicants claim that the current recruitment does not take into consideration South Sudanese. Staff rules and regulations also provide that the Secretary General reviews the applications and shortlist no more than three candidates from each partner state for each position. They also blame the EAC Secretariat for making changes in the terms, skills and qualifications in the advertisement for various jobs. The Treaty provides that one of the functions of the Assembly is to recommend to the Council the appointment of the Clerk and other officers of the Assembly.

“The Treaty provides that the Council shall appoint a Clerk of the Assembly and other officers of the Assembly whose salaries and other terms and conditions of service shall be determined by the Council,” said the applicants. “In the absence of an express provision on appointment of other staff of the court, the EAC Secretariat or Ad hoc Service Commission has always conducted the recruitment on behalf of the Court before sending the names of the successful candidates to the Council for appointment,’’ they argued.