The Ugandan government has given judges a 78 percent salary increase, making them some of the country’s highly paid government officials. The judges’ salary increase comes at a time that the government says it cannot meet the demands of striking lecturers at the country’s prestigious Makerere University for salary increases.
Nsaba Buturo is Uganda’s former minister of information and now minister for ethics and integrity in government. He said there is a reason behind the government's decision to give the judges a 78 percent salary increase.
“The intention of government is to strengthen the arm that deals with government issues such as corruption. We realize that we have been weak in those areas, and it is the only way to attract more judges, or rather more personnel and also give motivation to those who are already employed. That is the way to go,” Buturo said.
Buturo said there is no contradiction between the government’s decision to increase judges’ salary while at the same time it refuses to do the same for striking university lecturers.
“It’s one issue at the time. We do recognize that the Makerere lecturers do have a point, but of course our resources do not allow. And we have made a promise that as soon as conditions do permit, they will also be attended to. The fact of the matter is that there are so many employees who would want to see an increase in their salary,” Buturo said.
He dismissed suggestions by some that the Ugandan government raised the judges’ salary as a reward because the judges regularly ruled in the government’s favor.
“And those are the same people who say that we are ignoring judges if we didn’t recognize how thankful they are in the improvement of government in our land. This is a deliberate plan that we have had for so many years, and we are dealing with case-by-case approach. Others will be attended to as our economy continues to improve,” Buturo said.
Buturo also rejects accusations by Makerere University students that the Ugandan government does not value education.
“We recognize that lecturers and education generally is a very important sector we must invest in, and really if you are here you will see that we have made tremendous expansion in education, and we are continuing to do so. We intend to of course look after the welfare of those in the sector. We have given assurances that when resources do permit, they will be attended to,” Buturo said.
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