MPs To Grill Finance Ministry Bosses Over Acute Funding To UHRC As Wangadya Warns Of Growing Human Rights Demands In Uganda!


The Parliamentary Committee on legal affairs is itching to squeeze the ministry for finance officials led by hon. Matia Kasaija to explain why it doesn’t prioritize funding to the country’s human rights watchdog-UHRC.

According to the committee’s deputy chairperson Yusuf Mutembuli, members want finance ministry officials to appear and explain in detail why there’s acute funding to the Uganda Human Rights Commission.

“Colleagues, we need to task the Finance Ministry when it appears before the this committee to give reasons why they have refused to consider bridging the Commission’s resource gap” he said.

The vice chairperson’s remarks came following a touching submission by the UHRC chairperson, Mariam Fauzat Wangadya alongside her team to this committee wherein, she stated that the Commission continues to suffer acute funding yet it has a lot of tasks to fullfil.

To prove how the Commission is terribly underfunded, Wangadya gave a detailed report into its funding for the last three years which indicated that the commission is running almost on empty rims. 

For example according to Wangadya, in the FY2021/2022 the Commission budgeted for Shs72.227bn but only Shs20.897bn (29%) was provided by the government representing a mere 29%.

In the subsequent year 2022/2023, UHRC required Shs78.811bn but only 20.636bn was provided while in FY2023/2024 government provision reduced further to mere Shs19.572bn as opposed to Shs84.227bn that was required , representing (23%) funding.

In a motherly appeal to members, Wangadya informed the committee that the meager funding has made life hard for her staff who keep resting their faith in her thinking that their salaries would be enhanced but waapi!

“UHRC has been grappling with low and uncompetitive pay for its employees for the last over 10 years. I will always remind this Honourable Committee that currently, a Director and Manager at UHRC earns a monthly gross salary of Shs3,977,716 and Shs3,619,493 respectively” she said as she presented the Commission’s budget framework paper for FY2024/5 to the committee.


Wangadya noted that the salaries of her staff are inconceivably incomparable to sister institutions like the Electoral Commission where a director earns Shs14,596,960, a Manager Shs12,713,575 and an officer Shs5,010,000. 

“Every planning/budgetary I absorb the inner pain of counselling my staff who have waited patiently for the improvement of their salaries which seem not to materialize,” she poured her heart out to a very attentive committee.

Accompanied by her colleague commissioners including Hon. Col. Steven Basaliza, Hon. Shifra Lukwago and Hon. Simeo Nsubuga alongside other technical staff, the lady from Masaabaland noted that whereas government is duty-bound to fully finance UHRC to execute its constitutional duty, what’s happening is a direct opposite. 

“As you are well aware, the UHRC Budget over a long period has been miserably low to meet the growing human rights demands of this country. The wage, non-wage and development budgetary provisions have never been close to half of what UHRC needs to provide meaningful human rights promotion and protection services,” she told members.Wangadya and urged them to this time round, rally other actors to support the Commission with an enhanced budget.

The Commission’s submission indeed moved members and they this time round agreed to task government to fully fund the Commission.

Ben Okiror, the Usuk County MP for instance, noted that all along they have been asking the Commission to be visible and are now happy to see it expanding it’s horizons in spite of the enumerated financial challenges. 

“We need to support them with all the resources they need so that they can be able to do their work. It is not right for government to be starving this institution of money and then expect results,” he noted.

So bad the situation is, that Wangadya almost has to dig deep into her personal pockets to fuel her vehicle. She is given Shs600000 per month for fuel, meaning that she might soon resort to Boda Boda transport as Shs20k fuel per day isn’t enough given the distance and heavy traffic jam in Kampala.

“Imagine, with the increased fuel prices; it means she either has to stay home for some days or risk running out of fuel on the way. Shs20k fuel is fit for Boda Boda transport not a vehicle. Those are 3litres” a member said.

The committee now wants finance ministry led by Matia Kasaija to appear and explain in detail why its grounding the operations of a constitutionally established institution.



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