The Uganda Association of Prosecutors (UAP) has expressed concerned over the State of Prosecutors who are said to be increasingly getting infected with Covid-19.
According to a statement by the UAP leadership, the association lost a colleague, the Late Omyulo Isaac (State Prosecutor, based in Mbale) who succumbed to Covid-19 on 18th June 2021.
"We condole with his family and friends. We also have had cases of Covid-19 infections in several offices including at Head Office, Rukunguri, Mbarara, Nabweru, Makindye etc which interrupted office operations" the statement reads in part.
Fortunately, according to the association leaders, some of the affected persons have since recovered, while others are still undergoing treatment.
"The development however, points to more serious issues affecting prosecutors across the country, some of which have been discussed with relevant authorities such as; the Ministry of Justice & Constitutional Affairs, Attorney General, Office of the Speaker of Parliament, Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development, Public Service among others," UAP leaders point out further.
The association now calls upon the Top Management of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) to address the issue of covering risks for UAP members who are exposed to Covid-19 during the course of their duties.
"As frontline workers in the Justice Law and Order Sector, we express our disappointment over the Government’s oversight in catering for the prosecutors in the Covid-19 supplementary budget, a step which has handicapped our members’ operations.
Unlike other stakeholders in the Criminal Justice system including Police, Prisons and Judiciary who were catered for in the past Covid-19 supplementary budgets, prosecutors have remained unattended to despite being frontline workers in the Justice sector," UAP leaders stress before adding: "To make matters worse, there have been further cuts in the quarterly release of the new financial year."
According to UAP this has significantly impacted the delivery of criminal justice to the nation.
"Needless to say, despite the court judgment which UAP obtained in its favor, Government has failed to honor its obligation to address the grievances of prosecutors in the past years, these include; stagnation in rank, poor and discriminatory remuneration, inadequate facilitation, taxes on salaries, excessive workload, inadequate staffing and limited training opportunities among others, which have negatively affected members.
We call upon the Government to immediately address the welfare of Prosecutors and as a matter of urgency start with creating a Covid-19 risk allowance, avail protective gears, fund regular operational and logistical requirements among others.
On top of that, we would like to remind Government to fulfill all its obligations, commitments and assurances to Prosecutors before matters go out of hand," UAP says in a statement signed by the association General Counsel Timothy Amerit and General Secretary Arthurton Kukundakwe.