KAMPALA. Magistrates under their professional body of Uganda Judicial Officers’ Association (UJOA), have teamed up to see that Chief Justice Bart Katureebe, takes home a monthly pay of Shs50m.
The magistrates led by their president Godfrey Kaweesa, justified the increase of the salary for the head of the Judiciary, saying it should match that of the Kenyan chief justice whom they said, pockets a monthly pay of Kshs1.3m (Shs50m).
They also cited the increasing cost of living that could be a reason for the increasing corruption incidents as the other ground to push for the increase of salaries across board for all judicial officers.
Under the new salary structure that came into force about four months ago, the Chief Justice earns a monthly pay of Shs20m while his deputy Steven Kavuma, earns Shs18m.
The salaries of these two top judicial officers in the new salary structure that left out other judicial officers, was increased by 100 per cent by the Public Service ministry.
The last time that the government increased the pay for judicial officers was in 2013.
Before the increase, then Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki lamented of how the monthly pay of Shs5m that he was earning was equivalent to the “pocket change” for a lawyer in private practice. The salaries of judicial officers are not taxed like other civil servants.
“The Ugandan Judiciary is the least paid in the region,” Mr Kaweesa said while presenting a memorandum to the chairperson of the JSC, Justice Benjamin Kabiito last Thursday at his office in Kampala.
“The Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee has made a number of recommendations that government has not yet implemented. They include lifting of the presidential moratorium on salary increment in order to cater for judicial officers and other JLOS staff whose salaries have been affected by inflation and high cost of living,” the memorandum by magistrates reads in apart.
“The Judicial Service Commission, which is tasked with the responsibility of appointing and promoting judicial officers, we believe has a big say when it comes to enhancement of salaries at all levels in the Judiciary. Uganda is the least paid in the region,” the memorandum adds.
The other issues that the magistrates cited in their memorandum for redress were renting of court premises that share the building with drinking places, which they said deprives the courts of their sanctity, The Daily Monitor reports