Judiciary driver in low-pay audio clip granted bail

Stanley Kisambira, the Judiciary driver who recently complained about low pay was today arraigned in court in Kampala and formally charged with promoting hate speech against judges after spending three days in Luzira prison.

Judiciary Driver, Stanley Kisambira, inside the dock at Buganda Road Court on Thursday, May 25, 2023. PHOTO/ Courtesy

KAMPALA, UGANDA: The Buganda Road Chief Magistrate, Ms Gladys Kamasanyu has released on bail Stanely Kisambira, the Judiciary driver who recently complained about low salary in a viral WhatsApp recording.

Kisambira, 46, today appeared in court after spending three days in Luzira prison and was formally charged with promoting hate speech against judges. He pleaded not guilty to the charge and applied to be released on bail.

After scrutiny of his bail application, Magistrate Kamasanyu granted him a Shs10 million non-cash bail and Shs5 million non-cash bond for his sureties and ordered him to return to court on June 12 for further mention of the case.

Kisambira’s woes started when he recorded an audio clip expressing his dissatisfaction about his low salary went viral on social media. In the audio recording, the disgruntled driver threatened to cause harm to his principal Justice Godfrey Namundi who is a judge in Mbale District saying the Shs235,000 monthly salary was not enough to cater for his family’s needs.

In response to the viral clip, Judiciary PS, Pius Bigirimana, said he would not risk the lives of the judicial officers in the hands of what he described as liars like Kisambira. Bigirimana noted that Kisambira receives approximately Shs1.3 million per month in addition to the known Shs235, 000 salary.

“This driver lied. He receives Shs200, 000 as operation funds, he gets a salary of Shs237,000 and also receives a consolidated allowance of Shs720,000 every three months. Shs1.125m is given to him every quarter as consolidated welfare money. This means that in total, Kisambira gets around Shs1.35 million but then he goes around telling lies,” Mr Bigirimana said, adding; “I have written to him to show causes to why disciplinary action must not be taken against him.”

The driver was first arrested last week and detained at CPS in Kampala before he was, days later, released on police bond and then rearrested this week on Monday when he had gone to report himself at the same police station.

Prosecution told court on Monday that Kisambira’s action in the viral audio clip was likely to promote hostility against judges in the Judiciary, in that judges’ salaries are unfairly over and above those of their drivers and that a driver can decide to cause road accidents by ramming into a moving truck thereby, killing the judges and their bodyguards.

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