EACO names first CEO


Image: Hodge Semakula. By BiztechAfrica
Hodge Semakula

By Omondi Julius Odera, Kampala, Uganda

Hodge Semakula, who has served the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) diligently as its pioneer Commission Secretary, has been appointed the first Executive Secretary (CEO) of the Kigali-based East African Communications Organisation (EACO) Secretariat.

EACO is the regional body which brings together Regulatory, Postal, Telecommunications and Broadcasting organisations in East African Community.  The broad objective of EACO is to harmonise policies of the communications sector in East Africa which will promote further cooperation and integration of the five member states of the EAC.

Originally known as the East Africa Regulatory, Postal and Telecommunications Organisation (EARPTO), EACO is an example of a public, private partnership with a sole aim of improving access to affordable and quality communication services to the people of East Africa.

The decision to establish a permanent EACO Secretariat was taken during the 18th EACO Congress which was held at the Serena Kigali Hotel in Rwanda from May 23-27, 2011.

Semakula has been the Commission Secretary/Director for Legal Affairs since April 2000. As a pioneer Commission Secretary of UCC, Semakula participated in and contributed to the process of setting up the institutional framework of UCC in terms of developing the necessary policies, regulations, licences and building the current ICT regulatory regime in Uganda.

A trained lawyer, with a rich knowledge and experience in commercial and telecommunication/ICT law, Semakula holds a Masters of Laws (LLM) in IT and Telecommunications Law from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK, a Masters in Public Administration and Management, a Bachelor of Laws both from Makerere University, and a Diploma in Legal Practice, among others.

Semakula, who beat off three competitors from three other East African member states for the job during interviews held in Kigali recently, will be heading a nascent organisation of 25 staff members of staff. EACO has three departments each headed by a manager – Legal and Advisory Services, ICT Assemblies, and Human Resources and Administration.

With over three decades of distinguished career as a corporate lawyer and administrator in large public bodies, Semakula has a good grasp of the ICT industry and skills in ICT regulation. He is knowledgeable and experienced in civil, commercial/company law, insurance, banking, ICT and telecommunications and international business transactions. He also possesses knowledge and skills in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism like mediation and arbitration.

Owing to his rich knowledge and experience in ICT law and regulation Mr Semakula was in 2010 elected as a member of the Panel of Legal Experts of the International Telecommunications Satellite Organisation (ITSO) based in Washington DC. Apart from attending ITSO meetings in his legal advisory capacity, he has been representing Uganda on that organisation for the last two years.

Before joining UCC, Semakula worked as the Company Secretary and later Acting Managing Director of the then Nile Hotel international Limited (1995-2000). His professional work experience started with the then Uganda Commercial Bank from 1977 to 1995 where he rose to the rank of Assistant Corporation Secretary before joining Nile Hotel International Limited.

“Semakula has been an invaluable human resource. A legal giant, he will always be missed. However, being appointed the maiden CEO of EACO, Semakula has done us proud. We wish him well in his new appointment,” said Godfrey Mutabazi, the UCC Executive Director. “Of all candidates from East Africa, UCC and Uganda as a whole is honoured to have produced the best to head the Secretariat,” he added.

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