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“No one is safe”

Judiciary driver Stanley Kisambira

Judiciary driver Stanley Kisambira

The killing of the junior labour minister by his army bodyguard, who then committed suicide, has opened the sluice gates on the salary structures within the government.

Relatedly, the case of judiciary driver Stanley Kisambira, who boldly shared his frustrations about his salary, should invite candid conversations at the highest level on salary disparities in the public service.

Here was a man driving a high-powered machine, ferrying his very important boss all over the place, watching his boss shop in bulk at the supermarket, while Kisambira’s wife at home struggled to have faith in her husband’s pay.

Kisambira, emphasizing he was of sound mind in choosing to speak up, urged the judiciary to look into the plight of drivers. He then took it a notch higher, explaining that a severely stressed driver is a bigger ticking bomb than the army bodyguard who murdered his boss.

Like a resistance movement, the permanent secretary of the judiciary has come down like a hammer onto Kisambira’s frustration. Even as the legal process is underway, there must be others like Kisambira. May this be an opportunity to hear and learn from them?

A 2017 Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) study on salary disparities in the public service noted there are flagrant disparities between the traditional civil service and statutory bodies established by parliament. The study indicated that some public officers earn two-to-six times more than their counterparts in other public institutions.

In April, Member of Parliament (MP) Dan Kimosho stated, “The executive director (ED) of Mulago is paid Shs 15 million while the ED of Uganda Cancer Institute gets Shs 25 million and the ED of Uganda Heart Institute is paid Shs 39 million; this should not exist because these institutions are interdependent and serve a similar purpose.”

Even within many institutions, there are huge gaps between the highest-paid and the lowest-paid. At the local government level, the EOC found, “...it takes seven years for the lowest paid political leader to earn what the highest paid political leader earns in one year.”

To no one’s surprise, the study underlined that these disparities do nothing for the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery and, instead, encourage vices like absenteeism, low motivation, corruption and late coming, among others.

The Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG), in January 2021, reminded the government about the need for a salary review body to look at the wide salary disparities in public service. Julius Mukunda of CSBAG remarked, “Institute a salary review commission so that everybody including MPs can have salaries that befit us.”

Parliament Watch has chronicled the stuttering progress of efforts towards the salary review body, noting that the debate on the review of salaries started in the Seventh Parliament. It appears the only progress we have made is that we are now at the Eleventh Parliament.

The minister of Public Service revealed in February that government will ‘consider’ setting up a National Remuneration Review Board in the next financial year. Must be nice to be nonchalant about commitment.

The haphazardness across pay structures in public service is bewildering. As bewildering as President Yoweri Museveni’s humble brag about his salary, which remains impervious to change. When cornered over salary disparities in public service, Museveni whips out his trump card.

His salary, he tells us several times lest we forget, is a humble Shs 3.6 million, of which 20 per cent goes to his political party. He breaks it down foras that the First Lady is then left with approximately Shs 2.9 million to run the household monthly. A bedtime fairytale with special effects made in Uganda’s Wakaliwood.

During the 2022 celebration of Teachers’ day, Museveni, responding to the teachers’ incessant demands for increased salaries, lectured: “When it comes to expenditure, we must prioritize our spending. So, when you come up with useless demands saying we want this tomorrow, then you are the enemy of progress.”

In recent weeks, the expenditures of the Office of the President and State House have made our eyes water reading about billions spent on beddings, special meals and other stupefying budget items. Whom shall we finger as the enemy of our progress? This haphazardness in salary structures - whom does it benefit?

Why is the ruling regime content with the discontent of its people?

While citizens are urged to tighten their belts and stop making unpatriotic noisy demands, our leaders unapologetically blow up public expenditure with items like beddings, shoes, workshops, special meals, and other cute priorities. Such a sour taste, these ‘priorities’ leave in our patriotism.

We are like frustrated hopeless romantics waiting on our prolific philanderer of a lover to finally change. Deep down in our weak knees where our hearts now reside, we know that we know that we know. That knowledge is our daily burden.

Days after the murder of the junior labour minister, the health ministry lobbied the parliamentary health committee for the immediate release of Shs 1 billion for a survey of the mental health status of Ugandans.

The ministry argued that the study would shed light on the mental health among different groups of people which and possibly prevent some gruesome murders. MP Timothy Batuwa quipped, “No one is safe. We must support the ministry... We must screen all bodyguards among other people because no one is safe.”

Even though many of us do not have bodyguards, no one is safe.

smugmountain@gmail.com

The writer is a tayaad muzzukulu

Comments

+3 #1 Lakwena 2023-05-31 15:32
In other words, that include Gen Tibuhaurwa with is meager salary of Shs.3.6m (three million, six hundred thousand only).

Otherwise, who is fooling who?
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0 #2 Akot 2023-05-31 20:02
[“No one is safe”]

Agreed, reason Ugandans MUST say NO to the tribalistic system & UNITE to end Museveni's evil rule before it's too too late!

Putin pretended to be that just 1 leader Russians needed & they went along & what do they see now besides him wanting to extend territory, control Europe & Africa?

Ugandans have no other option but to become ONE PEOPLE & block Museveni who has no tribal land to fight back from!

This will give chance for Ugandans to form the kind of governance they want without change through guns/war!

So, why kill one another while Museveni rules in peace, unconcerned about what Ugandans do to one another?

Why are tribal leaders still in posts?
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0 #3 Akot 2023-06-03 14:32
OLIVIA NALUBWAMA,

What will Ugandans do when Museveni finally dies of old age, go along with the son in the waiting for the post & will be be different from the father in handling their family business?

Who will liberate Ugandans when it's them, the people to whom tribal lands that form Uganda belong, keeping Museveni on & waiting for the son to replace the dad?

Ugandans are ensuring they are slaves of the migrant family that's at peace, while frustrated Ugandans kill, imprison one another, go for fake elections to ensure the family business is protected legally, constitutionally!

Who aill liberate powerless tribally divided ruled Ugandans ensuriing the family business?

Why is NO to the tribalistic system & UNITY that will ensure Museveni is out, then formation of the kind of governance Ugandans want more dangerous to Ugandans?
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+3 #4 Lysol 2023-06-04 04:53
Museveni's Uganda has created a precondition for the murder suicide.

Unfortunately, the victim always becomes the villain and the villain becomes a hero.
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0 #5 Akot 2023-06-05 17:03
Lysol, thanks.

Museveni has made Uganda the land he dreamed to own & Ugandans are willing slaves serving him while waiting for the son the replace the dad finally!

One wonders why he still has tribal leaders in posts as Uganda is his family business & Ugandans are alright with it doing the dirty work for him to ensure safety of the family!

Museveni will rule with or without fake presidential election! Ugandans prefere Museveni & are waiting for the son to replace him finally!

Ugandans maintaining the tribalistic system, fighting, killing, imprisoning one another, fighting for posts... are assurance for Museveni's lifetime rule & peaceful transfer of power to his son!

As you correctly join me in saying; [Museveni's Uganda]
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0 #6 Akot 2023-06-05 17:22
Lakwena, thanks, but,

How can any one blame Museveni for earning what he faught for when it's Ugandans ensuring his ownership of their tax money in the fake country that is 'his family business'?

Do you still wonder why Dr Obote & Sir E. Mutesa ll put aside their pride to ensure peaceful independence from UK & this, at a time when all countries colonised by UK were at armed struggle for freedom?

Kenya, India, Zimbabwe, S. Africa.... had their freedom fighters arrested, but Ugandans just UNITED & few weeks of discussion in Kampala & Lancester House gave birth to peaceful hand over!

Today, Ugandans are powerless tribally divided ruled by migrant Museveni who owns their land legally & constitutionally!

Only Ugandans, in UNITY, can end Museveni's ownership of their land/tax money!

But tribally divided ruled Ugandans oppress, kill...one another to ensure their enslavement!
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+2 #7 Remase 2023-06-05 18:54
Timothy Batuwa quipped, "We are not safe!" Fellow Ugandans, how could we be?

We are led by a ruthless hardcore organized criminal, who is the most violent individual on the planet, M7. You can imagine, M7 is blaming the poor teachers for making what he calls "useless demands" and further calls them "the enemy of progress!"

Let's assume that M7 is a friend of progress, how come that after 40 years in power, Timothy says we are all not safe? That alone has required the ministry of health to immediately ask Sh.1bn for a survey of the mental health status of Ugandans?

Indeed we can't escape running amok with such a hardcore organized criminal who has a budget og the entire nation at his disposal but blames everyone fòr making useless demands! For how long are we going to be in such a state of not being safe?
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0 #8 Akot 2023-06-06 15:46
Remase, thanks.

What a pitty tribally divided ruled Ugandans are ensuring M7 rules for life & leave the post to his son to replace him!

M7 will die at +90 years of age & the son has time to plan how to rule for life too!
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