A driver with Uganda’s Judiciary has warned of consequences if their low salaries and welfare are not urgently addressed.
In an audio recording shared on WhatsApp, Stanley Kisambira said he receives a meager salary of Shs 200,000 and an operational allowance of Shs 200,000 per quarter, yet he joined the judiciary as early as 2008.
“Sincerely speaking, I am very annoyed,” said Kisambira, adding, “What exactly do you want me to do?”
Kisambira did not rule out the possibility of committing suicide and killing a judge in the process.
“I am a driver. I can ram into a stationary trailer, killing all the occupants, including the judge and bodyguard,” said Kisambira.
The threat comes hardly a month after a bodyguard shot dead Labour Minister Rtd. Col. Charles Engola in Kampala.
Pte. Wilson Sabiiti accused the army’s top brass of neglecting soldiers’ welfare.
“People make declarations before their deaths,” Kisambira, who hails from Bugiri in eastern Uganda, further cautioned.
“I am not mad,” he said, emphasising, “I am in pain; we need help.”
In a statement issued on Sunday, the Judiciary said it was true that Kisambira has been working as a driver with the Judiciary since 2008.
“Whereas the approved salary for drivers may be inadequate, the Judiciary leadership resolved that the allowances for all non-judicial staff (drivers inclusive) in the institution be enhanced in line with CSI No. 6 of 2018 on duty facilitating allowance,” said the Judiciary’s spokesperson, Jamson Karemani.
“This was an intervention to facilitate the lower cadre of staff, specifically non-judicial staff whose salaries have not been enhanced,” he added.
Karemani further said that as a result of the above intervention, each driver is paid a reasonable consolidated monthly allowance paid out on a quarterly basis.
Added together with the salary, the total monthly payment for a driver is over one million shillings.
However, Kisambira expressed anger over the discrepancies in the operational allowances for drivers, saying they remained a breeding ground for disaster.
“Whenever the operational allowances for drivers are released, some get Shs 6 million, others earn Shs 4 million or Shs 600,000, and I take home Shs 200,000. What is that?” wondered Kisambira.
Karemani said payments to Judiciary’s drivers “exclude duty facilitation allowances and operational funds, which Mr. Kisambira refers to as ‘OP’ in his audio recording,” adding, “In addition to all this, every Judiciary member of staff enjoys health insurance services.”
Kisambira said the low pay of the judiciary cannot allow him to make ends meet.
“The salaries for judges and clerks were raised because they do not engage in extrajudicial financial dealings but the plight of drivers for judges was ignored,” he said.
“Drivers for judges also don’t do any other business. If the judge is on leave, I stay on duty. How do you pay me a salary of Shs 200,000 yet a bar of soap costs Shs 6,000?” wondered Kisambira.
Karemani said the management of the judiciary has reached out to Kisambira “in an effort to guide him on how best his concerns ought to have been addressed.”
He added: “This is to assure all the Judiciary staff that everything is being done within the laid-down legal precincts to further address the welfare concerns of all staff of the Judiciary.”
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