War debt claimants on the spot over cash
Posted Sunday, January 20 2013 at 02:00
War claimant groups in Lango sub-region have come under scrutiny over the alleged misuse of cash meant for its members. This follows reports that out of the Shs10b advanced to the Lango War Claimants’ Association last year by the government to support 4,300 beneficiaries, only 210 benefited.
The funds, advanced under the Peace Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP) was meant to benefit those who lost their livestock during the two- decade LRA insurgency in northern Uganda.
According to the Lira District NRM party chairman, Mr Lawrence Egole, majority of those who benefited are feared to be those who did not even suffer LRA atrocities or those who lost their animals to Karimojong cattle rustlers.
“It would not be easy to know who is a genuine beneficiary,” he said.
Mr Egole said it was not necessary for the government to commit money to compensating war victims without thorough verification.
Mr Otto Isa, former UPC Member of Parliament for Oyam South, said mess in the programme is ‘a shame to the government”. More than 400,000 war claimants in Lango have been registered under three groups and are struggling to benefit from livestock compensation from the government.
In Acholi sub region, more than 30,000 claimants are also struggling to access compensation after two groups emerged and locked horns over modalities of sharing the already paid money.
Mr Moses Ogwang Adonyo, the coordinator of Lango War Claimants’ Association, acknowledged that some individuals had formed groups for no genuine cause.
According to their lawyer, Mr Adam Makmot Kibwanga, more than 20,000 have filed claims with the High Court in Lira totalling Shs1.2 trillion but added that none of his members had benefited from Shs10 billion PRDP fund.
There are reports that some groups were registering intended beneficiaries after they have paid money and disqualifying those who could not afford registration fee.
“The confrontation in the system is because it was not based on victims-centered perspective; it was formed because some people wanted to take advantage of the situation,” said Mr Victor Ochen, the director of African Youth Initiative Network, a local NGO.