By Edwin Muhumuza
Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Ephraim Kamuntu has refuted reports that money meant for payment to police constables who served during the electoral period was swindled.
The minister said this while appearing before parliament in response to the concerns raised on the floor by Hon. Timuzigu Michael Kamugisha over the Irregularities and inconsistencies in Payment of allowances to Police Constables who tendered security services during the Electoral Process.
“The Electoral Commission provided for payment of Shs. 40,000/- (forty thousand shillings) only, per round of elections, to each Polling Constable, it further provided for payment of Shs. 30,000/- (thirty thousand shillings) only, per round of elections, to the Polling Constable in charge of enforcing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) at every polling station.”
According to the minister, the Commission released funds totaling approximately 8,000,000,000/- (eight billion shillings) only, towards payment of the temporary election officials.
“The disparity between the amount payable to the Polling Constable (Shs. 40,000/-) and the Constable for SOPs (Shs. 30,000/-) is because the SOPs official is a new category introduced to the Polling Station structure.”
There has been widespread protests countrywide from police constables, the latest being those from Kabale district where more than 1,500 SPCs were recruited in the Kigezi region and, about 60 of them stormed the Central Police Station to demand payment of allowances.
They argued that in addition to their monthly earning of 375,200 Shillings, they were also promised 40,000 Shillings per voting day, which they are yet to receive.
“The allowance rates for each constable are clear and the difference does not constitute an irregularity as it has been alleged. Furthermore, there is no inconsistency in the amounts being paid to the respective temporary election officials as their rates are clearly stated in the appointment letter.” Kamuntu remarked.
He further revealed that the Electoral Commission released all the money required to pay all temporary election officers including Polling Constables, who were appointed in writing and deployed at polling stations and the commission issued a Circular to all City/District Returning Officers instructing them to ensure that all temporary election officials are paid as per the rates indicated in the respective appointment letters and in accordance with the terms of employment.
However, the minister noted that there were delays in some parts of the country to make payment to Police Constables, especially those who were drawn from outposts and given the tight demands of the General Elections schedule, the returning Officers were unable to make the required arrangements for travel to these stations to make these direct payments.
“Now that the elections are concluded, the necessary arrangements will be made to pay the constables right from their posts. The Electoral Commission has assured me to settle the delayed payment within a period of fourteen (14) working days from today 9th’ February, 2021 and will also handle any specific cases where there has been unnecessary delays to pay appointed officers.” Kamuntu said.