Census officials undergoing ten days enumeration training at Akuna Laber Seed Secondary School in in Kitgum district on Thursday protested over low allowances.
The group refused to participate in the training on Thursday morning citing reliable information they obtained from neighbouring Pader district for their action. The training enters its sixth day on Friday.
The participants told training facilitators headed by Christopher Kilama, the Kitgum district population officer, that they have been reliably informed that they should get 20,000 shillings daily for transport allowance for the ten days of training, but were being cheated by being paid a paltry 5,000 shillings per day.
Kilama said the group threatened to frustrate the national exercise, after successfully completing the training unless they are convinced beyond reasonable doubts that they were not being exploited.
He explained the allowance budget and what transpired on Thursday morning to Uganda Radio Network from Akuna Laber Seed Secondary School.
Kilama said trainees alleged that colleagues in neighbouring Pader district had told them on phone that their appointment letters indicate 20,000 per day for the 10 days exercise compared to Kitgum’s paltry 5,000 shillings.
Fearing the worst, Kilama rang the Pader district Census Supervisor, Kitgum district Security Committee headed by RDC Captain Okot Santos Lapolo and Francis Wilson Mashate, the National Census Coordinator, to calm the situation.
The District Population Officer told RDC Okot Santos Lapolo that Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) has accepted to revise the rates in a phone conversation on Thursday afternoon. The news excited the trainees who resumed training by 3pm.
Andrew L. Mukulu, the Deputy National Census Coordinator confirmed to Uganda Radio Network that the consolidated transport allowance during the training period has indeed beeen revised up ward by the Bureau.
Mukulu says the communication came in late Thursday and many districts could have not shared with the trainnees as requested. He says the 20,000 shillings spoken of in Pader could have been part of the advance paid to the trainees.
Mukulu says the funds will be transferred to district accounts this week.
Captain Okot Santos Lapolo, the Kitgum RDC cautioned the group against renewing their strike to frustrate the exercise over pay and other vices such as fabrication of data, exaggerations and misconduct.
He encouraged them to observe good discipline and confidentiality during the exercise. Using a piece of chalk to illustrate his point on a blackboard, Captain Lapolo said the success of the exercise depends on how the enumerators present themselves and how they phrase their questions.
Lapolo threatened to dismiss whoever cannot properly implement lessons learned from the trainings during the census.
The national population and housing census starts on August 28th.