KAMPALA —President Museveni will on Tuesday April 26, meet prosecutors from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, according to the Presidency.
In the same meeting, there will be a memorial lecture for the former Principal State Attorney Joan Kagezi, organised by the office of the director of public prosecutions.
The meeting comes at a time when prosecutors under their umbrella association, Uganda Association of Prosecutors (UAP) are raising issues concerning their security and safety, poor remuneration, poor working conditions, and lack of adequate facilitation in the execution of their duties which they say the government has ignored.
Prosecutors also complain that their counterparts in the judiciary are well renumerated.
They allege that judicial officers across all ranks received a boost in their salary in the last financial year, where the lowest judicial officer, a Grade one Magistrate earns UGX 5.6m and a State Attorney with the same qualification and experience earns UGX 2m which is then subjected to taxation unlike judicial officers and other stakeholders in the justice law and order sector whose salaries are not taxed must be recalled that during the new law year, President Museveni revealed that he was aware of the issues affecting prosecutors and asserted that the cabinet had made a decision to look at the welfare of prosecutors since they do the risky jobs.
To confirm his promise, through his Principal Private Secretary Dr Kenneth Omona, President Museveni in a letter to the Ministry of Finance and public service copied to the Attorney General and the director of public prosecutions, directed the ministry of finance and Public service to ensure that issues of the prosecutors which included salary enhancement, recruitment of additional staff and acquisition of office and transport equipment be addressed.
However, the prosecutors say that to their shock and disappointment, the proposed budget prepared by the ministry of finance only catered for recruitment and there was no provision for salary enhancement and welfare of the prosecutors as the President had directed.
Arthurton Kukundakwe, the Deputy Secretary-General of the Uganda Association of Prosecutors revealed that Poor remuneration has demoralised prosecutors who he says earn miserable pay compared to the judicial officers of the same rank and experience, with whom they work in the same courts under the same environment.
“There is surely no need for such a huge salary disparity where you have the same qualifications, and experience and face the same work environment and same risks! Even court clerks, interpreters and transcribers earn more allowances than a state Attorney who is a fully trained government lawyer.”
It is remembered that in 2017, prosecutors through their umbrella association, the Uganda Association of prosecutors went on two months that paralysed court business after which, the government through a commitment letter by the then minister of justice undertook to address the issues that had been raised and taken the prosecutors on strike.
However, according to Kukundakwe, the prosecutors are hopeful that the issues that remain largely unmet will be addressed by the President when he meets and addresses them on the 26th of April.
“The president has already shown goodwill when he addressed our issues on the new law year and by the letter addressed to the Ministry of finance and public service.”
Meanwhile, Joan Kagezi was a Principal State Attorney in the office of the director of public prosecutions, she was one of the most respected and resilient Prosecutors however she was assassinated in March 2015.
Prior to her murder, Kagezi was instrumental in handling the terrorism case that involved the 2011 bombings in Kampala to which the Alshabab militants claimed responsibility.
Despite handling such sensitive cases, Joan Kagezi was never afforded security like her counterparts in the judiciary who were heavily guarded.