The Electoral Commission boss, Dr. Badru Kiggundu and his staff have asked for a salary pay rise.
They told the legal and parliamentary affairs committee on Wednesday that in order to fulfill its constitutional mandate and the obligation of conducting free and fair elections, the commission should offer competitive salaries in order to attract and retain highly motivated and professional staff.
"Currently, there is a high rate of staff turnover in both top and lower management positions. This puts the commission in danger of losing most of its capable and experienced staff," the commission said in a presentation by the Secretary, Sam Rwakoojo on the EC budget.
He noted that since 1999 when a formal salary structure was set up there has been no increase, yet inflation has continued to rise. He further observed that compared to government agencies such as Uganda Revenue Authority, Uganda National Roads Authority, the EC staff and commissioners were the least paid.
"Recently, the Government set the salaries of Kampala Capital City Authority at highly competitive rates and the major justification was the current economic situation. Why are we an exception?"
Rwakoojo said that in the first budget call circular paper it was indicated that the government had earmarked an additional Sh290b to enhance salaries in the coming financial year, but the EC was not considered.
Currently, Kiggundu gets a monthly salary of between three to five million while commissioners between Sh3m to Sh4m according to EC spokesperson, Willy Ochola. The staff get a salary of less than Sh3m monthly.
"We are like orphans," Kiggundu said. He, however, declined to state how much money he would like to get monthly, when asked by journalists.
Reacting to the presentation the MPs supported EC on the issue and wondered how a mere driver in KCCA could earn much more than the EC boss.
The MPs proposed that the government should harmonise wages of people working in government agencies.