PROFILE: PS Bigirimana's Journey In Turning Around Karamoja

nurse geneva;”>Chimp Corps decided to visit Bigirimana at his office at the Office of the Prime Minister in Kampala for a one-on-one to verify whether indeed he has made remarkable things during the four years he has been in the office.

help geneva;”>Findings

Under Bigirimana’s technical leadership, the function of coordination which had been approved by Cabinet in the year 2003 but remained on paper was functionalized in the year 2009 when he arrived.

The institutional framework which brings together technical teams, Permanent Secretaries and a Policy Coordination Committee of Cabinet is currently in place due to his efforts.

Office of the Prime Minister Zombo District

As Chairman of Joint Budget Support Framework, Bigirimana has managed to create harmony in the way Development Partners provide support to the government.

Some of these Development Partners include Denmark, Ireland, Sweden, Germany, World Bank, European Union, Department for International Development (DFID) of the UK, Netherlands and Austria.

Acerer Hydraform housing project moroto district

Mr Bigirimana has ensured the function of monitoring and evaluation is entrenched in Government to access the performance of Ministries, Departments and Agencies and is so passionate about critical analysis of performance against set targets.

With this team he has established a traffic light system of measurement.

“This system looks at performance indicators derived from the Policy Statements of Ministries and use them to assess how Ministries are performing and for the last two years, Government assessment reports have been produced,” Bigirimana states, confidently.

Acerer Hydraform housing project moroto district

He says this has resulted into the Development Partners agreeing to have joint assessment with the Government something that was not done in the past.

During the interview, Bigirimana keeps referring to a Chimp Corp’s age, lecturing him on how to work hard to as to be innovative and not fear taking risks.

Born in Kisoro and having been in the civil service for a cool 27 years, Bigirimana has also achieved implementing the Peace Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP) of Northern Uganda by insisting on having funds decentralised from Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to the Districts which had not gone with officials at the Ministry.

“This plan was meant to harmonize all interventions in Northern Uganda for ease of coordination, help in monitoring performance and mobilising resources. Full implementation started in 2009 when I stepped in OPM,” he recounts.

Residentials at Panyadoli Police Barracks kiryandongo District

Since then Bigirimana compelled districts to set priorities and develop work plans, with clear outputs, measurable indicators, timeframe and costs. This approach has seen a lot of projects implemented at a faster rate and in a transparent manner.

A Monitoring Framework was put in place under the political supervision of PRDP Monitoring Committee chaired by the Prime Minister and has evaluated PRDP’s performance six times in the last three years declaring it successful.

PRDP’s success is largely credited on Pius Bigirimana who has passionately given technical sense of direction since he arrived in the 0PM.

It is because of this impressive performance that Northern Uganda is steadily recovering and has become positive to Government which may explain NRM improved performance in the last elections.

Panyadoli Police Barracks in Kiryandongo

He says as a result, Government has made budgetary provisions and extended the life of PRDP for another three years with Development Partners promising more technical and financial support.


Mr Bigirimana successfully led a technical team that negotiated with World Bank on the Northern Uganda Social Action Fund 2(NUSAF 2) project. This project was negotiated in 2009 and became operational in 2010 with three components was aimed at providing livelihood support and community infrastructure.

It is regarded the best performing World Bank funded in Uganda with the disbursement and absorption beyond 50% and accountability standing at more than 85%. The World Bank mission, which evaluated its performance rated it as highly satisfactorily, a rating which is very rare in other projects considering that NUSAF 1 was a disaster.

With the political guidance of the First Lady Janet Museveni, Minister of Karamoja Affairs, Mr. Bigirimana has contributed to the Karamoja Development by successfully implementing many programmes including food production, water investments, accommodation and community empowerment.

Saving karamoja

Food handouts by World Food Programme and Government have reduced from 70% in 2009 to below 30% in 2011.

Government has also ploughed and provided seeds to the Karamoja people and food production has improved tremendously.

Some of the Modern Manyatas in the karamoja region

In partnership with Ministry of Water and Environment, Parish dams have been constructed. So far five dams were commissioned and another ten are under construction.

Also in Karamoja, low cost houses have been constructed in Nadunget, Camp Swahili, Acerer and Lorengedwat in order to have decent living in the Manyata style. Also due to cattle rustling, many communities had lost their livestock so cows and goats have been provided to women groups for community empowerment.

Acerer Hydraform housing project moroto district

From the analysis therefore, it seems that Kazinda incident is just a systematic weakness in the entire Government which Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development has to cure.

Bigirimana friends say he is a strong leader who is honest, transparent, results oriented, willing to take on challenges and has put in place systems that continue to improve performance at the Office of the Prime Minister.


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