TOP
Wednesday,September 30,2020 07:31 AM

EC meets Kadaga over salary enhancement

By Moses Mulondo

Added 30th January 2017 11:07 AM

In the meeting at parliament on Friday which was also attended by the parliament legal committee chairman Jacob Oboth and the budget committee chairman Amos Lugoloobi, Byabakama argued that whereas salaries of staff of many public agencies have been increased many times, the salaries of the commission have not been increased for the last 18 years.

EC meets Kadaga over salary enhancement

In the meeting at parliament on Friday which was also attended by the parliament legal committee chairman Jacob Oboth and the budget committee chairman Amos Lugoloobi, Byabakama argued that whereas salaries of staff of many public agencies have been increased many times, the salaries of the commission have not been increased for the last 18 years.

The newly appointed Electoral Commission chairman Justice Simon Byabakama has met the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga over many unfunded priorities for the commission including the need to increase salaries for the staff.

In the meeting at parliament on Friday which was also attended by the parliament legal committee chairman Jacob Oboth and the budget committee chairman Amos Lugoloobi, Byabakama argued that whereas salaries of staff of many public agencies have been increased many times, the salaries of the commission have not been increased for the last 18 years.

"Unless parliament comes to support the commission by providing adequate funding, the capacity of the Electoral Commission to execute its mandate will progressively be undermined for the record," Byabakama lamented.

Justifying his demand further, the former judge quoted article 66(1) of the constitution which states "Parliament shall ensure that adequate resources and facilities are provided to the Commission to enable it perform its functions."

Arguing that what he is paid is equivalent to what drivers earn in some of the public agencies, Byakama said, "The remuneration of Electoral Commissioners and the entire staff does not reflect the enormous responsibility and work executed the commission to enhance democracy and stability in the county."

The EC chairman asked parliament to increase the commission's wage bill from the current sh8.2b to sh45.3b.On the plans for conducting LCI elections, the chairman said they would roll out the plans and set the dates after the Local Government Amendment Bill has been assented.

The Bill was passed a few weeks ago to lower the cost of conducting LCI elections to sh15b from sh37b but the President is yet to assent to it. Quoting the Political Parties and Organizations Act, 2005, Byabakama said whereas government is mandated to annually fund the activities of political parties, no money has been provided for parties in the 2017/2018 budget. 

On the constitutional amendments and electoral reforms, the EC chairman appealed to parliament to have the laws passed at least three years before the general elections to have ample time to sensitize the public about them and for better planning.

Former Parliament legal committee chairman interjected and reminded the speaker about the commitment the Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda made in 2016 that all the necessary constitutional amendments and electoral reforms would be carried out in the first year of the current term of office.

"The electoral laws came late towards elections and that is why I lost elections because I spent a lot of time working on the Bills. I don't want this to happen again," Tashobya said.

Although the commission had been promised money to relocate its headquarters to pay way for the Standard Gauge Railway activities, the commissioners said, the money for relocation has also not been availed.

The commission also raised concern that it is not given funds to provide continuous voter education as mandated by law. 

Responding to the concerns, Kadaga expressed shock that the commission is not facilitated to carryout continuous voter education which she said is very paramount.

She also expressed shock that for 18 years the salaries of the EC staff have not been increased.

On the funding of political parties, she said the NRM party to which she belongs and the opposition parties have never given accountability for money appropriated to them yet they are required to account for the money.

Jacob Oboth implored the speaker to support the EC request to have their budget increased so that to safeguard their staff from compromises.

The budget committee chairman Lugoloobi said, "The complaint about poor remuneration of EC staff has been there for many years. With the high rate of inflation in the country, I think parliament should intervene."

 

   

 

Related articles

More From The Author

More From The Author