Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Retired Lt. Col. Francis Itabuka, the former Director State Research Bureau-SRB, says he opted not to claim his gratuity from the Defense Ministry due to negative media publicity.
According to Itabuka, the media has labeled the Idi Amin government as a military regime and attributed several atrocities to all officers who served under the regime.
He says such sentiments have deprived capable veterans from enjoying their benefits like gratuity due to fear of public opinion.
Itabuka stresses that due to the inability of those who served under Amin to explain themselves at the local and international levels; it would generate mixed reactions once the media highlights the gratuity given to a former senior military officer like him.
He says the persistent negative coverage against Amin’s regime since the late 1980’s to date indicates that the current government and entire public doesn’t trust military officers who served under the regime.
Itabuka reveals that some government officials lured him to claim for his gratuity and tasked him to become a National Resistance Movement-NRM mobilizer, a request he rejected.
The UPDF spokesperson for Jinja zone, George Musinguzi told URN that all retired military officers are entitled to their gratuity irrespective of the circumstances.
“Just like other retired military officers from all other regimes after independence, Itabuka is entitled to gratuity, but we cannot force him to take if he doesn’t want to,” he said.
He served as the director of state research bureau from August 1974 to February 1977.
After the collapse of Idi Amin in April 1979, Itabuka appeared before the Uganda Human Rights Commission chaired by the current vice president, Edward Ssekandi on May, 11th, 1987.
He was found innocent on all counts of human rights violations leveled against him and was left to live as a free man. Itabuka leads a quiet life on his 40 acre farmland in Itonko village in Namutumba town council.