Soroti, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Voters in the Teso region want candidates contesting for various elective positions to prioritize compensation for war victims.
Teso sub-region has suffered violence from rebel activities and the Karimojong warriors where several people lost lives and property. Several people especially from Amuria, Katakwi and Kaberamaido were forced into Internally Displaced Camps during the insurgencies that lasted more than a decade.
In 2018, the High Court in Soroti awarded each war victim five million shillings as compensation in addition to the property lost. Each lost cow was valued at 900,000 Shillings, goat and sheep at 150,000 Shillings each and pig at 250,000 Shillings each for compensation.
This is after the Kasilo County MP, Elijah Okupa and a team of 2,020 survivors who suffered violence in the hands of Karimojong cattle rustlers between 1994 and 2001 sued the government. In a landmark ruling delivered by Justice David Batema, the government was ordered to compensate the affected families for the lives and property lost as a result of cattle rustling and insurgency.
In September 2015, Julius Ocen, the then District Chairman for Amuria with a team of about one million people also dragged government to court demanding compensation of 546 Billion Shillings.
But the compensation has never been realized even after several pledges from the government.
According to Benson Ekuwe, the Executive Director of Public Affairs Center- PAC Uganda and human rights defender, compensation of the Teso war victims is very critical in this election. He explains that for a very long time, people in the region have been let down by the government after failing to fulfill its promises on compensation even when court-ordered so.
Rev. Michael Okwii Esakan of Soroti Diocese says that compensation of Iteso who lost lives and property is a priority and any leader who cares to address issues affecting the region should be a priority.
Rev. Okwii notes that Teso has been taken for a ride for a long time.
In 2010, Teso Sub Region through the Citizen Manifesto raised four critical issues among which include the need for a shift in education policy by compelling government to meet education costs for all learners in tertiary and university levels. The views collected from more than 120,000 across the region also highlighted the need for better health services across the country, the need for fair politics and democracy, revamp in the economy and socio-political development. However, several issues have remained in the paper.
So far, Patrick Oboi Amuriat, the FDC Presidential candidate and Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine of National Unity Platform have all pledged to compensate the region if given mandate to lead the country.
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