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‘Veterans’ camp at Lwamata, renew demands for compensation

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Civilians claiming to be NRA war veterans protest as they demand payments. PHOTO GODFREY SSALI

Hundreds of civilians claiming to be Luweero Triangle veterans from Kiboga, Kyankwanzi, Mubende and Mityana have camped at Lwamata playground, saying they will not leave until the president meets them over their compensation.

The group, who have their own body Kasejjere-Kigemuzi Veterans’ Association, said that President Yoweri Museveni and the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) government have failed to fully pay compensation and gratuity for property and people they lost during the National Resistance Army guerrilla war in the 80s.

Holding placards, they said they decided to leave their homes to camp at Lwamata to show their dissatisfaction with the way they have been neglected despite the tremendous contributions they made to the 1981-1986 struggle that ushered the NRM government into power. Lwamata is in Kiboga, 114.5 km north-west of the capital, Kampala.

Muwanga  Nkalubo, the general secretary of the group says Museveni met the veterans in March this year and promised to handle their issues. They say more than four months down the road, nothing has been done.

“We are here because we want to seek audience with the president. He was here himself and told us that we would be paid in three  weeks after the elections but now it’s now 4 months. We have tried to reach the minister of Luweero Triangle Dennis Galabuzi Ssozi and a number of state house officials all in vain. We can’t go on like this,” said Nkalubo.

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Hajji Abbas Ndege speaking for the veterans. He claims to be the 28th person to have joined the NRA war

Hajji Abbas Ndege who claims to be number 28 among the earliest fighters, said they need support because of what he said was the abject poverty they are living in.

“Does president Museveni want us to die. Most of our colleagues have died before receiving a penny. He told us to open individual accounts which we did. Why doesn’t he pay us?”

Cooking utensils at the camp indicate the group is determined to stay long. PHOTO GODFREY SSALI
Cooking utensils at the camp indicate the group is determined to stay long. PHOTO GODFREY SSALI

Tomusange Jjaggwe Tindyeebwa, the chairman of the association, who also claims to the 29th to join the NRA in the bush war, said the government should at least use the money it intends to spend on MPs to pay veterans.

“Why is the government taking us for granted. Is it because we are not educated. How can they allocate Money towards burial arrangements for MPS who are still alive before paying veterans who aided the National Resistance Army Bush struggle,” said Jjaggwe.

Jjaggwe also complained that the little money that has been disbursed over the years is not fully given to the veterans because officials always demand a given percentage for helping in securing it.

Over the years several groups of people in places where NRA had bases have come up to ask for compensation from the NRM government arguing that they gave them food, cows, vehicles, medicines, protection among other services as they fought in the early 1980s.

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