Human resource management in local governments: An analysis of recruitment and selection practices in Uganda
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The transfer of staff hiring and firing decisions from the central government to the district local governments through the District Service Commissions (DSCs) is considered to be one of the cornerstones of the Ugandan decentralization reforms. Architects of Uganda's decentralization policy opted for a separate personnel system because it increases responsiveness, enhances accountability of civil servants to elected leaders, and overcomes the challenge of dual allegiance by civil servants to central and local government masters. However, the decentralization of civil service management has come along with unintended or perverse effects. One such effect is sacrificing merit by the DSCs during recruitment and selection processes. In this paper, we argue that the legal framework for appointing the DSC and the defacto local eligibility criteria for appointment to the DSC; the size and ethnic composition of district local governments; and the tendency to associate districts with employment for indigenous are some of the key obstacles to merit-based recruitment and selection in local governments in Uganda.