The Prosecutors state that as Frontline workers in the Justice Law and Order Sector they are disappointed over the government's oversight in catering for the Prosecutors in the Covid-19 supplementary budget, a step which has reportedly handicapped the operations of members.
The Director of Public Prosecutions Justice Jane Frances Abodo. File Photo.
The Uganda Association of Prosecutors -UAP, an umbrella that brings together all the State Attorneys dealing in the criminal matters in the country wants to be given Covid-19 risk allowances.
According to the Press Statement issued by the Secretary General of the Association Arthurton Kukundakwe and General Counsel Timothy Amerit, the association is concerned about the state of Prosecutors who are increasingly getting infected with COVID-19 during the course of their duties.
Although their statement doesn't reveal how many have been infected, it shows that last month, one of their colleagues State Attorney Isaac Omyulo who was based in Mbale succumbed to the deadly virus on June 18th 2021.
"We have also had cases of COVID-19 infections in several offices including at Head Office, Rukungiri, Mbarara, Nabweru, Makindye etc which interrupted office operations, fortunately, some of the affected persons have since recovered while others are still undergoing treatment," reads the statement in part.
The statement adds: "The development however points to more serious issues affecting prosecutors across the country, some of which have been discussed with relevant authorities such as Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Attorney General, Office of the Speaker of Parliament, Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development, Public Service among others".
The Prosecutors state further that as Frontline workers in the Justice Law and Order Sector they are disappointed over the government's oversight in catering for the Prosecutors in the Covid-19 supplementary budget, a step which has reportedly handicapped the operations of members.
The Parliament in February 2021 passed a supplementary budget of 292 billion shillings most of which included money to purchase Covid-19 vaccines and face masks for the Ministry of Health among others.
However, the Prosecutors say that unlike other stake holders in the criminal justice system including Police, Prisons and the Judiciary, they have remained unattended to despite being the frontline workers in the Justice sector.
"To make matters worse, there have been further cuts in the quarterly release of the new financial year. This has significantly impacted on the delivery of criminal justice to the nation.
In December 2020, the High Court Civil Division Judge Musa Ssekaana ordered government to honour it's promises to increase Prosecutors Salaries and to improve their welfare.
It was after the Association of Prosecutors sued government and then court found that government was in breach of a 2017 commitment letter that they had signed with the association of Prosecutors, few days after their sit-down strike.
The government had pledged to increase their salaries, waive tax on it, provide professional and responsibility allowances and also help in fast tracking the passing of the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions Bill within a period of 90 days.
But to date, nothing has ever been implemented, an issue that the prosecutors say they are also concerned about.
The Prosecutors now want government to fulfill it's obligations, commitments and assurances to them before matters go out of hand.
They also want to be given protective gears, funding for regular operational and logistical requirements and government to create Covid-19 risk allowances as a matter of urgency.