Govt halts Shs4 billion compensation package for bush war veterans

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FILE: Minister Kaboyo addresses civilian veteran district leaders. Photo via @KaboyoAlice

Luwero, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The government has halted the Shillings 4 billion compensation to veterans pending a probe into reports of fake claimants. For decades, the government has been paying veterans for their contribution to the National Resistance Army war of 1981-1986 that ushered in the current regime.

However to date, hundreds of veterans are waiting patiently for their compensation package. Last year, the government captured the details of over 30,000 veterans during the registration exercise and promised to ensure that they are all compensated.

Alice Kaboyo, the State Minister for Luweero Triangle, says that in the second quarter of the financial year 2022/23, the Ministry of Finance released over Shillings 4 billion to pay a section of claimants but the exercise has since been halted over alleged fraud.

Kaboyo revealed that her ministry has directed the State House Anti-Corruption Unit to probe the allegations of fake claimants before the payments are done. Kaboyo explained that there have been reports of the veterans’ leaders submitting the particulars of their children and other fake claimants to benefit from the package.

The State House Anti-Corruption Unit is yet to comment on the progress of the probe, but local leaders and veterans in Luwero have welcomed the move, saying that corruption tendencies have deprived many genuine claimants of their benefits.

Livingstone Kategeya, a member of the Kamira sub-county War Veterans Association, says that local associations submit genuine lists through Uganda War Veteran Association but there are individuals who include fake claimants and withdraw the money for their own benefits.

Kategeya said that many genuine claimants have died while others are languishing in abject poverty in villages without compensation. He says that their association submitted a list of 60 claimants from the sub-county, a decade ago but to date, none has been compensated.

The leaders want the government to suspend the compensation packages indefinitely.

Chris Johns Buwembo, the LC3 chairperson of Luwero town council says that brokers have benefited from the compensation packages rather than the veterans. He has asked the government to stop the packages and disburse the funds to local governments to address issues that affect the communities.

Pascal Imarach, the LC3 chairperson of Zirobwe town council, says that every resident in the area was affected by the NRA war and some infrastructure is not yet rehabilitated to date. He wants the compensation packages to be diverted to rehabilitate and construct infrastructure to benefit all people rather than paying individuals.

Minister Kaboyo said that early this week, President Yoweri Museveni reiterated his commitment to compensate NRA, Uganda National Liberation Front, and West Nile Bank fighters.

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