The Cries of
Uganda’s Starving Poor amidst the Smiles and extravagancy of Uganda’s
Kleptocrats(thieves): Parliament asks for State of Emergency as famine disaster
hits 5.5 million record: Museveni accepts that the presidential oil handsake
bonanza was a terrible mistake: How Museveni spent Shs 21.7bn on vehicles in 5
God and my country or For my stomach, my family, relatives and friends: The
paradox of Museveni’s 2 billion Car amidst a dead health sector, increasing
poverty , youth unemployment and struggling economy
President Museveni met representatives of medical workers at State House
last week, he reportedly sounded a clear warning: he would declare a
state of emergency and arrest them if they went on strike.
On Tuesday, the doctors defied him – taking industrial action under their umbrella body, Uganda Medical Association (UMA).
A siege mentality is creeping around the
government since medical workers are not the only civil servants
currently protesting against poor pay. Public prosecutors under their
umbrella Uganda Association of Prosecutors (UAP) have, for the second
time this year, laid down their tools.
Don Wanyama, the senior presidential
press secretary, told The Observer yesterday that the bottom line was
the resource envelope.
“We need to look at the bigger picture.
What impact, for instance the demand for salary increment, will have on
the economy,” Wanyama said.
He said government was aware that
traditional civil servants – doctors, teachers, etcetera – earn much
less than those working in commissions and newer state agencies.
These are issues that the long-awaited
salary review commission is expected to point out. In 2015, a report
written by parliament’s committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities
and State Enterprises revealed glaring salary and remuneration
disparities in and across entities.
“It is not clear whether salaries are
determined by the level of academic qualification, size of the budget or
contribution to the treasury,” the report said.
Wanyama said the salary review
commission is expected to produce its report this month which will help
government have a clear sense of how much it needs to enhance civil
“And government has already demonstrated
that it can do it with the teachers. Government has gradually increased
their salaries to the level it had promised,” Wanyama said, adding that
government is already paying Shs 4 trillion annually in salaries.
Yet to some workers, government promises
sound like a broken record. Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda was
booed when he went to try to convince health workers not to go on
One government employee told The
Observer “It [government] has money. Every day they tell us they are
broke but within a second they can find funds to facilitate
parliamentarians to go for the so-called [presidential age limit]
Government last month secured Shs 13
billion,which was handed out to members of parliament to consult voters
on the proposal to amend Article 102(b), which caps the age for one to
stand for president at 35 and 75 years.
If the status quo stays, President
Museveni will not be eligible to stand again in 2021. The amendment has
been seen mainly as intended to benefit him.
Government has been accused of spending
too much on bloated public administration and partisan politics. For
example, residential district commissioners and their many deputies are
said to be an unnecessary burden on the treasury since they essentially
duplicate the official functions of the local government structures.
New districts, usually announced by
Museveni during campaigns, are seen as another waste of resources which
could go towards enhancing remuneration of civil servants.
Last October when the health workers
issued their warning of a looming strike, their leader Dr Ekwaro Obuku
said they had waited since 1996 to have their working conditions
improved [as promised by the government] but all in vain.
Next month, the Uganda Judicial Officers
Association is expected to resume a sit-down strike after government
failed to meet its promise for cars and salary restructuring.
Godfrey Kaweesa, the president of UJOA,
told The Observer yesterday: “We have not been told exactly about what’s
contained in the so-called harmonised pay structure.”
Solomon Muyita, the judiciary’s senior
communications officer, said nothing much has been achieved since the
strike was suspended in August.
“Ever since they issued that letter,
nothing has been done,” Muyita said, referring to Minister of Justice
and Constitutional Affairs Kahinda Otafiire’s letter in which he was
committing government to improve the welfare of judicial officers.
WHAT THEY WANT
Medical workers want an intern doctor to earn a gross monthly salary of Shs 8.5 million from the current Shs 960,000.
A medical officer or teaching assistant to be paid Shs 15 million and be given a two-bedroom house and a 2.5cc vehicle.
A senior consultant doctor or professor
must be the highest-paid health worker with a gross salary of Shs 48
million plus allowances.
He/she should also be given a
five-bedroom house, 4.0cc vehicle, and three domestic workers.
Currently, a senior consultant doctor earns about Shs 3.4 million, a
consultant Shs 2.6 million, and a medical officer Shs1.1 million.
Government has said it can’t afford to meet their demands for now.
Prosecutors say they handle complicated
cases like terrorism, corruption and murder yet their salary package is
less than what a tea girl at Kampala Capital City Authority earns.
Prosecutors under DPP presently earn a
minimum gross salary of Shs 644, 963 with the highest ranking officer,
the Senior Principal State Attorney, grossing a monthly pay of Shs 2.1
They want the lowest-ranking officer to
earn Shs 3.5 million and the highest to earn Shs 6.2 million.They also
want tax exemption on their salaries, professional allowances and
allowances for serving in hard-to-reach areas, among others.
When UJOA postponed their strike in
August, they warned of another stay-away in December if the government
does meet its side of the bargain.
Two weeks to December, government has
not come through.Judicial officers want an increase to Shs 95 billion
per year on salaries of judicial officials alone, up from the current
Shs 14 billion.
Currently, the chief justice earns Shs
20 million; deputy chief justice Shs 18 million and the principal judge
Shs 10 million. Supreme court judges earn Shs 9.6 million.
A judge of the Court of
Appeal/Constitutional court gets Shs 9.3 million. A High court judge
earns Shs 9 million. Grade II magistrates earn Shs 737, 837; senior
grade II magistrates Shs 860, 810; principal magistrate grade II Shs 1.2
million; magistrate grade I Shs 1.5 million; and principal magistrate
grade I Shs 2.1 million.
A senior principal magistrate grade I
gets Shs 2.2m, chief magistrate Shs 2.4m, assistant registrar Shs 3.1m
and chief registrar Shs 4.8m.
UJOA proposes that a chief justice earns
Shs 55 million, his deputy Shs 53 million, principal judge Shs 50
million, justices of the Supreme court (who are seven) Shs 34 million,
justices of the Court of Appeal (who are 13) Shs 33 million, High court
judges (who are 47) Shs 31 million.
The lowest officer, the senior principal
magistrate grade II, should earn Shs 12.6 million. Other demands
include housing, transport and security allowance.
Doctors strike: no salary increment, unshakeable gov’t insists
minister of Health, Jane Ruth Aceng, says government will maintain the
current salaries of all medical workers in the country until a
comprehensive salary structure review of all public servants.
Aceng disclosed this on Wednesday at
press conference held at the government owned Media Center on the
ongoing strike by medical doctors across the country.
The medical doctors laid down their
tools at midnight on Monday to compel government to give them a pay rise
and improve their welfare. They vowed not to resume work until
government addresses their concerns.
The health workers want
government to increase the salary of medical interns from Shs 960,000 to
Shs 8.5 million. They also want medical and teaching assistants to earn
Shs 15 million, get a two-bedroom house and a 2.5cc vehicle.
also want government to pay a senior consultant doctor or professor Shs
48 million including allowances; provide them a five-bedroom house,
4.0cc vehicle and three domestic workers. Currently, a senior consultant
doctor earns about Shs 3.4 million, consultant Shs 2.6 million, and a
medical officer Shs 1.1 million.
The doctors also want salaries
for nurses and midwives enhanced to about Shs 6.5 million besides
providing them a three-bedroomed house, 2.0cc vehicle and one domestic
worker. However, Aceng says government will only act once the salary
harmonization process is completed.
David Karubanga, Public
Service state minister, says they will engage Uganda Medical Workers'
Union and Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union on the doctor's strike.
MPs to get Shs29 million for age
About Shs13 billion has been
released to members of Parliaments to facilitate their consultation with constituents
on Constitution Amendment Bill 2017, which seeks to scrap the lower and upper
age limit for presidential candidates.
Every MP has been given Shs29
million, according to latest information from the government.
Director Communication and Public Affairs Chris Obore confirmed the development
to Daily Monitor.
Following the first reading of the
Bill moved by MP Raphael Magyezi (Igara West, NRM) and its subsequent referral
to the Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for scrutiny, Speaker
Rebecca Kadaga asked the MPs to consult with the electorate.
Coming hot on the heels of these developments, Government Chief Whip Ruth
Nankabirwa said the Parliamentary Commission was considering a budget to
facilitate the MPs.
“The Parliamentary Commission is
working out a budget because it is Parliament which is going to facilitate all
of us…We shall be informed on how much each MP will get to go and consult
because we need logistics,” Ms Nankabirwa told the media, also addressed by
Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, on October 4, 2014.
But Ms Nankabirwa did not disclose
details of the budget, saying the Parliamentary Commission will determine the
Daily Monitor understands that each of the 449 MPs, irrespective of their party
was to get Shs29 million.
However, early this month, Opposition Chief Whip Ibrahim Ssemujju dismissed the
facilitation, describing it as attempts to “sanitise bribery of Members of
Opposition MPs reject, return Shs 29m age limit 'bribe'
six opposition Members of Parliament have each returned Shs 29 million
paid to them by Parliament to facilitate consultative meetings on the
age limit bill.
The Constitution Amendment (No 2) Bill, 2017, seeks to remove presidential age limit currently capped between 35 and 75 years.
Chris Obore, Parliament’s director of Communications and Public Affairs
confirmed that Shs 13 billion had been diverted from the MPs’
emoluments to facilitate the age limit consultations.
However, the opposition has rejected the
monies and kick-started the process to return the funds, which they
termed as “dirty money”, to Parliament.
Led by Opposition chief whip, Ibrahim
Ssemujju Nganda (Kira Municipality), the legislators explained that they
will not be part of attempts by President Yoweri Museveni to bribe
legislators to pass the controversial bill that has stoked debate across
Ssemujju, Moses Kasibante (Rubaga
North), Angellina Osegge (Soroti Woman), Muwanga Kivumbi (Butambala),
Medard Ssegona (Busiro East), William Nzoghu (Busongora North) later
carried and deposited Shs 174 million in cash wads of Shs 10,000, Shs
20,000 and Shs 50,000 to Parliament’s Finance office in charge of
Anna Adeke (National Female Youth) and
Anna Adeke (National Female Youth) did not bring the money, stating that
they had not received the money yet.
Addressing the media at Parliament
today, Ssemujju said that the move is a collective position from the
opposition in Parliament, agreeing to return the funds which they say
was not budgeted for by Parliament during the 2017/2018 budget process.
“All these actions by the state are
illegal. We intend to write to the Inspector General of Government (IGG)
and Auditor General (AG) to investigate the source of this amount of
money…the budget of Parliament did not include money for this kind of
consultation,” Ssemujju said.
Ssemujju added, “People are trying to be
smart but this is a bribe; the same like what President Museveni gave
them in 2005 to remove presidential age limit. We all like money but we
must take legitimate money”.
Nzoghu accused the president of taking leaders for granted through using money to front his selfish interests.
“This is a litmus test for us leaders
and touches our integrity…I have started on the consultations and don’t
need money. What the country should know is that in our monthly
facilitation, money for consulting with our voters is incorporated so no
one should say that they need this Shs 29 million,” Nzoghu said.
Kivumbi, on the other hand, asked the public to reject the money from legislators.
“The public thinks leaders must obtain
money whether crudely or badly to bring it to them to do some work. We
appeal to the public that a good leader must donate hard, earned and
clean money. This age limit money is dirty money,” he said.
Betty Aol Ochan (Gulu Woman) however
seemed undecided on whether to keep or return the money. Explaining that
she has previously returned money given to her by Parliament to hold
consultations on the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) and
Marriage and Divorce bill, Aol said she will consult them first.
“I am receiving some contrary views from
my constituents on this money. Other people are telling me that I bring
the money. Now I am divided because my bosses are those people. But
they must know that this is bad money,” Aol said.
Medard Ssegona (Busiro East) however urged the opposition MPs to reject the money and return in to Parliament.
“Ugandans may not have allowances to pay
their MPs allowances for December because the money has been
re-channeled to facilitate this Museveni project. We need money but I
can only use my money. I don’t know where this money is coming from. It
must be rejected,” Ssegona added.
some NRM MPs have blamed their colleagues for playing to the gallery
saying the money is not a bribe but facilitation to enable MPs do
'extra' work given to them by Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga.
Kabula MP James Kakooza says the bill demands extra work on part of the MPs hence the need for facilitation.