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Late Nsibambi: The man who revolutionized public service through timekeeping

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Yesterday the news of Prof Apolo Robin Nsibambi breathing his last shocked the nation and nationals are mourning the big loss of the famous statesman.

Prof. Nsibambi who was an academic, served as the 8th Prime Minister of Uganda from April 5, 1999 until May 24, 2011 when Amama Mbabazi replaced him.

As Prime Minister Nsibambi kept on urging public servants to report to work on time and somehow the sluggish public service then improved. He did that by example, something he said he had grown with.

To him reporting to work late was a form of corruption and indiscipline which went against the Public Service Standing Orders. The officers were used to reporting late to work and leaving office early.

He also urged public servants to be productive by not keeping out of office during working hours. Before he assumed role of prime minster, some public officials had made it a habit to dodge official work in favour of private engagements.

Nsibambi always worked to have an effective public service that would meet the expectations of Ugandans. He always wanted Ugandans to receive best services but that would only be achieved when civil servants were at their best.

Nsibambi unlike other top government steered clear of corruption and embezzlement of public funds through dubious deals.

Nsibambi as leader of government business during his tenure as prime minister did his job well while defending government policies, actions and programmes. He never clashed with members of parliament and always tried to respond their queries.

The late professor also had issues with what he referred to as too many public holidays in Uganda. “Public Holidays are creating problems, I am disgusted with too many public holidays and I hope one day we shall be able to reduce them by 50 percent,” Nsibambi while speaking at the Uganda Revenue Authority’s Tax Appreciation Day at Serena Hotel years ago.

Nsibambi despite his advanced age, was a regular at Namirembe Cathedral where his seat was reserved on the front row.

Despite serving the NRM government, Nsibambi never at any time hurled insults at leaders of the opposition political parties. He always concentrated on his work as prime minister and never involved himself in NRM activities.

Nsibambi was known for his categorization of poverty beyond the conventional poverty. He always talked of mental poverty, academic poverty among others.

In 2017, Nsibambi advised his former boss President Yoweri Museveni to leave power and rest. “Enough is enough, amending age limit not necessary,” Nsibambi said. “Leading a country is such a complicated task for an under-aged or over-aged persons,” he added.

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