Commentary

Establish remuneration commission for public servants

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By Crispy Kaheru

Posted  Saturday, December 28  2013 at  02:00

In Summary

Such a provision is subject to potential manipulation; Parliament can decide to reduce the emoluments of the Commissioners if they are perceived to be making decisions unpopular with the Legislature.

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As we enter the New Year, the government must act on establishing an independent body that determines remuneration and privileges of public servants, including Commissioners of the Electoral Commission. Salaries of some public servants have been a very contentious issue of debate – with certain similar public positions being offered varying salary packages without admissible justification.

Currently, the Constitution for instance gives powers to Parliament to determine the emoluments of the Electoral Commissioners. Such a provision is subject to potential manipulation; Parliament can decide to reduce the emoluments of the Commissioners if they are perceived to be making decisions unpopular with the Legislature. In other countries such as Ghana, the conditions of service of Commissioners are benchmarked to those of the judges of the High Court.

In South Africa, the conditions of service of the commissioners are determined by the president after consultation with the Commission on remuneration of representatives. In Kenya for instance, conditions of service of members of the IEBC are determined by an independent body, the ‘Salaries and Remuneration Commission’.

We, therefore, call upon the government to establish a Salaries and Remunerations Commission to determine and harmonise the salaries of state officers in the context of fairness across the board. It is this constitutional body that should deliberate on an acceptable and workable formulae for the salaries of all public office holders. Public office holders are those working under both the national and local governments, those in Commissions and independent offices and all those working in State organs.

Creating such an independent body to determine public servants remuneration and emoluments will assure public officials of their benefits and salaries during their term of service, but also protect them from any undue influence that could come in form of legislators setting their salary structure.

Mr Kaheru is the Coordinator Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda. ckaheru@ccedu.or.ug