Luwero, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Luwero district officials and legislators have complained to State Minister of Luwero-Rwenzori Triangle about government’s unfulfilled pledges to compensate veterans.
The veterans said that despite contributing to the National Resistance Army War of 1981-1986 that ushered in the incumbent government, they have patiently waited for their compensation package for the last 35 years in vain.
On Friday Alice Kaboyo, the State Minister for Luweero Triangle opened a regional office for Greater Luwero districts constructed by the Office of Prime Minister at Luwero district headquarters.
The regional office is expected to register and the applications for compensation, coordinate, monitor and supervise projects targeting former National Resistance Army fighters in the region.
While opening the offices, Kaboyo said veterans were facing a challenge to travel and apply for their benefits in Kampala city. She said the office has now brought services closer to veterans and the people of Luwero.
Kaboyo noted that over 30,000 veterans who were captured during the registration exercise and the government is committed to ensuring that they are all compensated. Captain Muhammad Mubiru, the Chairperson of Retired Officers and Men for NRA/UPDF in Luwero district welcomed the opening of the office, saying it will save them the cost of travelling to Kampala to apply for projects as well as benefits.
The Luwero LC V Chairperson, Erastus Kibirango told Kaboyo that it is unfortunate that 35 years later, the veterans are still demanding compensation. He said many other have since died in abject poverty.
Denes Sekabira, the Katikamu North Member of Parliament lashed at OPM for wasting funds to build new offices yet it could use it to compensate some of the veterans or start a project for them.
Hassan Kirumira, the Katikamu North Member of Parliament proposed that since the government has failed to compensate individual veterans, it should focus on infrastructure development that benefits all residents.
David Kamugisha, the National Resistance Movement Registrar for Luwero District, said the delayed compensation had made the government less popular and appealed to Kaboyo to cooperate with the Veteran Affair’s Ministry to handle it expeditiously.
Kamugisha said the party lost all parliamentary and several local government slots over the delayed compensation of veterans. But Kaboyo defended the government, saying it has had many issues to handle including the wars that ended fifteen years ago making it difficult to pay all veterans at once.
She revealed that she had already met with the Ministry of Justice, Attorney General and discussed how to ensure this matter is sorted out forever.