60,000 Lango war claimants yet to be paid four years later

Wednesday December 12 2018

Appeal. Members of  Lango War Claimants

Appeal. Members of Lango War Claimants Association at the High Court in Lira on July 14, 2014. PHOTO BY BILL OKETCH 


Lira. More than 63,000 war claimants from Lango Sub-region are yet to been compensated, four years after court ruled in their favour.
The High Court in Lira in 2014 ruled that the claimants under their umbrella body, Lango War Claimants Association, be compensated by the government for loss of livestock and other properties during the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) insurgency in northern Uganda.
The court ordered the government to pay Shs5 million and 25 per cent interest to each claimant for general damages.

This was after the war claimants sued the government in 2010, demanding Shs1.2 trillion in compensation for livestock lost during the conflict.
In his ruling, Justice Simon Byabakama Mugenyi said it was the responsibility of the government to protect the residents and their properties during the conflict, ordering the government to pay the claimants in cash. Court valued each sheep and goat at Shs150,000, a pig at Shs250,000 and each cow at Shs900,000.

However, Mr Adam Makmot Kibwanga from Makmot Kibwanga and Company Advocates, who represented the claimants, on Monday said his clients have not yet been paid.
“Nothing has yet been paid. The report is with the President and we are [still] waiting. We have passed all the processes,” Mr Kibwanga said.

Museveni’s position
President Museveni, while meeting Lango leaders at Baralege State Lodge in Otuke District in April, said his government has not yet decided on the compensation issue.
“There is an issue they keep talking about; cattle compensation. That problem we know but the reason we have not yet decided on it is because we had to deal with the issue of the roads. If you are to see the money we have spent on these roads such as the one in Acholi to South Sudan border, I think we have spent something like Shs700 billion,” the President said.

He said compensating the claimants is a very small issue for the government to deal with.
“This was just a question of what do we start with. Yes you can criticise, you can say ‘you people you did bad, you should not have started with the roads, you should have started with cattle compensation’. But our reasoning was that under cattle compensation, not everybody would be compensated. Some would be compensated and others would not be compensated but for the road, everybody uses it,” Mr Museveni said.



Claims. The war claimants say the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) and LRA looted their animals during the prolonged conflict in the region.
They further argue in the suit that it was the responsibility of the government to protect lives and properties but failed in its mandate.
Ruling. Justice Simon Byabakama Mugenyi ruled that the government must pay the claimants in cash.