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President Museveni explains why Acholi, Lango war claimants funds were diverted

FILE PHOTO: President Museveni

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT |  Most of the funds initially meant to compensate Acholi and Lango War Debt Claimants and victims of different insurgencies have been diverted to facilitate critical national infrastructure developments, according to President Yoweri Museveni.

The president said the government has now prioritized infrastructure developments like roads, Information Communication Technologies-ICT and the railway network over compensations. He, however, adds that the compensations will be attended to in a gradual process.

The President said the plan also affects pending pledges to the youth, women and local government leaders adding that disbursement of the little compensation funds stalled after some people started playing with the funds.

The President was responding to demands of the National Resistance Movement-NRM party Leaders in Gulu District that the government commits to fulfilling the pledges and compensation of war victims ahead of the 2021 general elections. But Museveni said that the government has now prioritized development of industrial parks, the oil sector, durable roads and wealth creation.

Acholi War Debt Claimants Association is seeking more than one Trillion Shillings in compensation for cattle and property lost during the National Resistance Army (NRA) five-year bush war led by Yoweri Museveni. The Government agreed to pay only 283 billion shillings following an out-of-court settlement. The Association has so far received 10 billion shillings out of the settlement.

In neighboring Lango Sub Region, the Lango War Debt Claimants Association dragged the government to court in 2009 demanding compensation for livestock they lost during various insurgencies in the region. The high court ordered the government to pay the claimants a sum of 2.9 trillion Shillings. So far 20 billion Shillings has been paid out.

Gulu National Resistance Movement Party Chairperson Grace Atim Oleyowiya said the unfilled pledges made to war claimants and other interest groups are a disadvantage to the ruling National Resistance Movement Party and all its candidates in the region.

Atim urged the President to ensure that they are accomplished before the 2021 general elections for the ruling National Resistance Movement Party to score highly in forthcoming elections.

The President was presiding over the victory celebration of the ruling National Resistance Movement Party in the recent local council and women council elections. The celebration was held at Kaunda Parade Ground in Gulu Town last evening.

The National Resistance Movement party secured 71 out of the 141 village leadership positions. The opposition Forum for Democratic Change party – FDC won 41 positions; the Democratic Party won five while 26 villages went to Independent candidates.

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