By Sakur AbdulSalam
State prosecutors have agreed to resume work starting today (Tuesday) after Government has committed itself to 90 days to increase their salaries and other emoluments.
In a meeting held at Imperial Royale in Kampala, 171 members of the Uganda Association of Prosecutors (UAP) voted to call off the strike for a period of 90-days as the Government works on their grievances.
However, 12 prosecutors voted for the continuation of the strike while 4 were non reactant.
Since July 12, 2017, prosecutors under office of the Director of Public Prosecution have been on a sit down strike over salary increment which has paralyzed business in courts of judicature especially those handling criminal matters which are prosecuted by them.
Even yesterday courts dealing in criminal matters countrywide were compelled to adjourn the matters because of their absence. This was followed by witnesses and those seeking for bail to be given other dates waiting for prosecutors to resume their work.
Earlier, Justice and Constitutional affairs minister Maj. (rtd) Gen. Kahinda Otafiire begged the prosecutors to call off the strike, stating that by the time they went on the strike, their salary and other emoluments were in offing.
“I want to assure you that Government cannot abandon you because we know how important you are. By the time you went on strike, we already had your salary frame work and I have documentary evidence about it but we could not just make it public.” Otafiire said.
He finally commended the prosecutors on discipline, saying the manner in which they conducted themselves during their strike clearly shows that they are lawyers.
The Director of Public Prosecution Justice Michael Chibita said he had no problem with the prosecutors strike because he saw it as a problem which had to be solved together as stake holders.
“In a marriage sometimes a wife may run away because of some problems but when the husband comes for you, you should not make it very difficult for him to take you back because in the village there might be another girl ready to fill the gap.
The president of Uganda Association of Prosecutors (UAP), David Baxter Bakibinga urged the prosecutors to appeal to the reason and not emotions as they wait for the Government to work on their aspirations.
“There has been a good will by the Government on solving our problems. Our salaries have been raised by five times of what we have been receiving and I call upon you to resume work,” he said.
Bakibinga expressed concern over their fellow prosecutors who voted against the strike earlier for abandoning duty.
In the preliminary salary structure, the least paid prosecutor will get sh3.5m, while sh26.5m for the Director of Public Prosecution with an allowance of sh10.6m at the end of month. State lawyer’s salaries have been ranging from sh644,963 to sh2.1m after tax.