An emergency meeting of the Pader District Council almost degenerated into a fistfight yesterday over the dismissal of local government staff. The meeting was called to discuss a letter from the Ministry of Public Service advising the Chief Administrative Officer to terminate local government workers who do not have the requisite academic qualifications for their jobs. Civil servants who regularly abscond from work were also to receive letters sacking them from their jobs. Several senior public servants in Pader are affected by the directive. Among them are Charles Amone the District Education Officer, Margaret Alanyo the Inspector of Schools in charge of Special Needs Education, Jimmy Ogena the District Fisheries Officer and Charles Obali the Senior District Engineer. Before the council meeting could take off, Sam Santo, the chairperson of the NRM Caucus in Pader asked that the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Ogenga Latigo, should leave the council hall. Santo said Ogenga Latigo did not have permission to attend council meetings. Latigo, who is the Member of Parliament for Agago County in Pader, refused to do so. He said part of his mandate as an MP is to regularly attend district council meetings to keep abreast of the developments on the ground. Ray Okwir, the Speaker of the Pader District Council, sided with Sam Santo and ordered Latigo out of the room. The MP refused to budge, sparking off a war of words. Some of the district councilors attempted to physically remove Ogenga Latigo from the room, but opposition party councilors in the room vowed to protect him at any cost. After about 10 minutes, tempers cooled and the meeting proceeded as expected. The Pader Chief Administrative Officer, Charles Otai, was forced to apologize for sacking the local government staff. He said he was merely acting on orders from above. The council resolved that the dismissed staffs will be allowed to take back their old positions. Consultations are to be made with the Attorney General on any legal implications of this move.