Central region comes second
An independent analysis of the 826 State House jobs published in the 2014/15 ministerial policy statement for the Office of the President shows the lion’s share of employment is enjoyed by people from the western region.
A scrutiny of the 826 jobs distribution listshows that western Uganda (comprising of Ankole, Kigezi, Tooro, Bunyoro and Rwenzori) holds 397 jobs, followed by the central region with 275.
Our analysis, tagged State House employees to regions through their middle and last names.
Further scrutiny of the jobs list showed the east, which stretches from Busoga to Teso and Karamoja holds 104 jobs, while the north, which comprises of Acholi, Lango and West Nile sub-regions holds only 44.
The Observer could not conclusively tie at least six employees to a particular region because of the peculiarity of their names, which was primarily the basis of our analysis.
All the 826 employees are listed under Vote Function 1611: Administration and Support to the Presidency and are further subdivided into: the headquarters, which has the bulk of staff, numbering more than 760.
Others are listed under the Office of the Vice President, Internal Audit, and Medicines and Health Services Monitoring Unit.
The policy statement does not give details of the employees’ job descriptions but at least ranks them by their salary scale and monthly earnings. Many fall under the U3, U2 and U1SE salary scales and their monthly pay on average ranges between Shs 1m and Shs 8m.
The privileged class earns no less than Shs 1m, a month, and is dominated by the west with at least 90 staffers, followed by the central region with 38 employees while the east and north have 28 and 14 employees respectively. Some of the high wage earners at State House include Anne Babinaga (west) and Iryne Watenga Karamagi (east) each paid Shs 8m per month.
President Museveni’s personal physician, Dr Diana Phoebe Atwine (west) earns Shs 6.5m, a month, followed by her colleagues in the Medicines and Health Services Monitoring Unit namely Agnes Nanteza Biryetega (central), Gloria Sseruwagi Kimuli (central), Jumba Pontiano Lwembaawo (central), Fortunate Hope Achiro (North) and Charles Ayume (North) who are paid Shs 6m a month each.
This adds up to anannual pay cheque of Shs 514m. Of the staff in the medicines and health services monitoring unit, at least six are from the west, five from central and three from the north. The Shs 6.5 m earned by Atwine is way above the State House Comptroller Lucy Nakyobe’s monthly pay of Shs 2.5m. Yet by virtue of her appointment, Nakyobe (central) is the head of the State House staff.
While the central region trails the west in other departments under State House, the list shows that at least 50 out of the 70 employees listed under the Office of the Vice President are from the central region. This is perhaps brought by the fact that the office has been occupied by Baganda VPs for the last 10 years. Of the remaining jobs in the VP’s office, the west holds at least 11 while the east holds seven and the north two.
The circulation of the State House employees’ list last week was the first time in Museveni’s nearly three-decade-old presidency that the list of his entire staff had been made public. Indeed, its publication, particularly the disclosure of the hefty salaries earned by his staff, caused an uproar in Parliament.
In response, government on July 9 issued a new list of sanitized salaries for its employees in the Office of the President and State House. Several MPs also questioned the criteria used to recruit staff. The minister for the Presidency, Frank Tumwebaze, told The Observer last week at Parliament that State House employees were “not in any way unique” from other employees of the Uganda public service.
But questions remain on how the presidential handlers are recruited.
“Since 2012, when we [members of the Presidential Affairs committee of Parliament] asked about the criteria followed in making these appointments, they have never clarified…,” said Masaka Municipality MP Mathias Mpuuga.
At the time, Muruli Mukasa, who was the acting minister for the Presidency, told the committee that some appointments were based on recommendations after Public Service interviews while others are political, based on the president’s discretion under articles 98 and 99 of the Constitution.
“It is not common for public service to conduct such interviews because the jobs have never been advertised,” Mpuuga said.
“They also need to explain whether the purported salary scales relate with known public salary scales. Theirs look peculiar to State House,” he added.