SCIENCE MINISTRY STAFF PETITION MINISTER KASAIJA OVER DELAYED SALARIES
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By Joel Mugabi
Employees of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MoSTI) have written to Matia Kasaija, the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, threatening to sue government over delayed salaries.
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In a letter Uganda Scientists, Researchers and Allied Workers Union (USRAWU) Secretary General Robert Keno wrote to Minister Kasaija and copied to Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja, Public Service Minister Wilson Muruli Mukasa and Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka, among other government officials, MoSTI staff remind Kasaija of the resolutions of Parliament regarding the creation of a new vote under the Presidency for the functions of Science, Technology and Innovation as well as the transfer of funds from Vote 023 to the new vote created under the Presidency.
While announcing his new cabinet at the start of his new five-year term of office, Museveni placed MoSTI, where former Sheema Municipality MP Dr Elioda Tumwesigye was Minister, under the Presidency and hired epidemiologist Dr Monica Musenero as its executive head.
Line ministries such as Finance, Public Service and Presidency would later undertake the process to transfer the funds for MoSTI to the Presidency. Public Service Minister Muruli Mukasa even assured Parliament all staff would keep their jobs and continue to earn their salaries.
“Mr Speaker. I would like to give my assurance before this August House as the Minister of Public Service that, indeed, we shall fast-track the human resource issues. As far as matters are concerned now, the human resource that has been in the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation is going, intact, to their new domicile,” Mukasa told MPs.
“I am standing here as an honorable Member of Parliament. I have been here for some time and upon my word of honor, Mr Speaker, I would like to pledge before you that nothing will come to any public servant in this particular sector that is outside the law.”
Now, USRAWU’s Keno has reminded Minister Kasaija that his docket is yet to implement parliamentary resolutions in regard to MoSTI staff. According to Keno, instead of implementing these, Minister Kasaija wrote to President Museveni weeks ago in a bid to “circumvent” the resolutions, something he says is unfortunate and has left staff who have diligently served government stranded since they have received no salaries for months.
Keno further told Kasaija that the affected staff have families and extended dependents who are currently suffering, adding that these employees are being humiliated by landlords, and families are breaking up. He also told the minister that the union was aware of plans to remove affected staff from government employment.
USRAWU has now warned that Kasaija’s “continued and deliberate tendency to operate outside the legal framework will painfully leave us with no choice but to pursue litigation proceedings, coupled with-heavy financial burdens” unless government expedites the payment of affected staff within the next two weeks. (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994, 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org).