The East African Community secretariat has been given the go-ahead to continue with the recruitment of its staff barely two months after the hiring was suspended.
On Monday, the Council of Ministers gave the go-ahead to the EAC Secretariat, unlocking the stalemate that saw the freezing of new hires in October.
“The interviews for those positions were done and have been concluded they are just awaiting appointments by the council. We have decided to delay that appointment pending the outcome of the bigger recruitment,” said Adan Mohamed, Kenya’s EAC minister who is also the current chairman of the Council of Ministers.
Mr Mohammed said the community anticipates that the recruitment process will be concluded in a month.
“No specific issue or role will be considered in isolation. All this will be done as part of that wider recruitment,” he said.
The suspension came after Burundi, Uganda and South Sudan called for a halt in the hiring process of the EAC Organs and institutions, citing irregularities and lack of transparency.
The East African Legislative Assembly last month suspended a plenary for the second time due to lack of quorum after a motion was tabled to halt the ongoing EAC staff recruitment process.
The controversy was centred on the recruitment of the clerk of the assembly and his deputy as some member states argued that the quota system wasn’t respected.
EAC staff rules and regulations require that the recruitment of staff is done by quota system, which provides that partner states must have points for its citizens to be considered as eligible candidates.
The rules provide that a country must have a minimum of 14 points. Burundi has 26 points, Uganda 18 points, while Rwanda and South Sudan have 36 points each.
During the 41st ordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers that ended on Monday, the EAC ministers released a report expected to be submitted to the summit which indicated the challenges the community is facing.
“We have had a number of issues as the community…one of them is the ability to sustainably finance activities of the community that has been a major issue. Not only is the amount that member states contribute small, but also the payment by member states has not been forthcoming as required by the EAC treaty,” Mr Mohamed said.
South Sudan remains the biggest defaulter with a total arrears of $27.4 million in arrears, followed by Burundi $8 million, and Uganda $125,000. Each partner state for every financial year contributes $7.3 million.
The EAC Financial Rules and Regulations indicates that the contributions by member states shall be considered due from the start of each financial year and shall be paid within six months of the financial year.
“Partner states with arrears had submitted arrears disbursement plans and therefore when remitting funds, they clearly stipulate amount for arrears and for existing budget,” part of the report reads.