Sunday, June 25, 2017

Why #Uganda state prosecutors are not threatening to quit despite "low pay"

Uganda's State Prosecutors are threatening to lay down their tools if the government does not look into their 'peanut pay and poor working conditions'.  Under their trade union, Uganda Association of Prosecutors (UAP), they have overwhelmingly voted in favor of a 14 days’ ultimatum for the government to address their grievances. The lowest paid Prosecutor earns around 600,000 shillings per month while the highly paid is the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) who earns around 4,000,000 per month. Indeed, compared to their core regime agencies, it is a small pay. They want their pay increased to the minimum of 9,000,000 shillings per month.
They have argued that many of their colleagues have been arrested over bribery and attributed it to small pay. They claim to have petitioned Museveni over the same matter five years ago, through their former DPP, Richard Buteera but nothing has been done.  
In June 2009, the Resident State Attorney (RSA) of Gulu was dramatically arrested as he attempted to chew and swallow a 50,000 bribe.  In August 2009, the RSA of Nebbi was arrested over a 200,000 shilling bribe in a motorcycle robbery case.  In June 2011, the RSA of Jinja was arrested in a 500,000 shilling bribe.  In September 2015, the RSA of Masindi was arrested in a 70,000 shillings’ bribe.  In May 2015, the RSA of Mubende was arrested over a 500,000 shilling bribe in a murder case.  In July 2016, the RSA of Koboko was arrested over 900,000 shillings bribe to withdraw charges from an accused.
The above list and a few others are the unlucky ones to be netted because almost every prosecutor is corrupt. Even those who don't solicit for monetary or material gratifications, they have been corrupted by the regime to promote persecution instead of prosecution.
Under the DPP, there are State Attorneys and State Prosecutors. The former are Lawyers who prosecute cases in all courts and Man District stations as Resident State Attorneys (RSA), while the latter are para-legals (Diploma holders) who work under the supervision of the RSAs and only prosecute cases in Magistrates Courts (Grade II to Chief Magistrate).  Both, State Attorneys and State Prosecutors prosecute cases on behalf of the State thus are professionally referred to as State Prosecutors.
The Chairman of UAP, Baxter Bakibinga joined DPP together with his sister Stella Bakibinga - both as Para-legals around 1999 and has since upgraded to State Attorney.  In January 2015 as the State Attorney of Masaka, he sanctioned murder charges against the LC III Chairman of Ntusi sub county but the suspect was released from court premises by armed men in a commando raid.
The suspect was a close associate of Minister Sam Kuteesa and Baxter Bakibinga was forced to make a public statement to the effect that the DPP had withdrawn the charges by a telephone call to him. This site ran an exclusive piece on the Criminal Justice system under Museveni. We highlighted the role of the Prosecutors in promoting injustice on April 26, 2015 via:


Introduction Since its inception, the Museveni military regime has persistently been obsessed with the criminal justice system. They use it as a scapegoat for their failure to fight crime, deliver justice and a justification for torture, illegal detentions and detention without trial.

It is a fact that the Prosecutors manning up country stations are the most corrupt because they handle criminal cases under the lower Magistrates courts which are the cradle of corruption and injustice.  Most of them are able to raise their so called monthly meagre pay in an average single day bribery collection. They can even survive without pay and there is no guarantee that if their demand for pay rise is effected by government they will stop soliciting for bribes.
Much as their demands are genuine, they are partly driven by the recent Museveni handshake of 6 billion shillings to 42 regime cohorts and its attempt to blackmail the regime.  By Museveni appointing his former Principal Private Secretary (PPS), Mike Chibita as the DPP in 2013, the Prosecuting authority was fully incorporated into the regime. The department lost its independence and has been under the control of the regime's security agencies for persecution of citizens.  Otherwise, why are they not complaining about the interference from the state?
Change of guards blog

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