What you need to know:
- While government estimates the number of liberation war veterans supposed to benefit from both the gratuity and war to be about 80,000, including those that have already been compensated, the different verification programmes organised by the Ministry of Defence have always incurred surprises of new war claimants who were never captured in the ministry data earlier.
A section of leaders in districts of Greater Luweero have tasked the State Minister for Luweero Triangle, Ms Alice Kaboyo to lobby the government for tangible projects that directly impact on the general welfare of people in the area.
The leaders claim that unlike other regions that the government has allocated resources on affirmative action, Luweero, which was the epicentre of the liberation war that ushered in the current government in 1986 has never benefited from such projects.
“It is unfortunate that the government has over the years struggled with the war veterans’ compensation programme that has left many families that were lined up as beneficiaries bitter. Luweero is struggling with the hospital project while the district headquarter office construction is another project that requires consideration. Most of the government pledges including a juice processing factory ended on paper,” Mr Erasto Kibirango, the Luweero District chairperson told the Luweero Triangle Minister over the weekend.
Ms Rose Birungi, the Luweero Resident District Commissioner said the issue of uncompensated war veterans is very complex and calls for special consideration as the government moves to decentralize services at the Luweero Triangle ministry through the newly commissioned regional office.
“Many veterans come to my office demanding answers as to why they have not yet been considered for compensation yet their counterparts got their packages. We need to use the new regional office to boost service delivery as a government,” She said.
Mr Robert Ssekitoleko, the MP for Bamunanika County said they have over the years patiently wanted for a juice factory promised by the government, but the pledge has never been fulfilled.
“Decentralisation of the services at the Luweero Triangle Ministry should come with actualisation of many of the government projects that still remain as unfulfilled pledges. It is also true that our people need mind-set change programmes that target hard work, but the government has the obligation to fulfil its pledges in the service delivery system that are still wanting in Greater Luweero,” he said.
In 2017, the government through the Luweero Triangle Ministry constructed a regional office block as a coordination centre in Luweero District, but the office had remained unoccupied for about three years with many leaders and residents questioning its relevance yet it cost the taxpayer a lot of money.
In her response, Ms Alice Kaboyo said President Museveni is very concerned about the slow development in village areas of Luweero Triangle and wants the issue of service delivery prioritised.
“It is also true that the war compensation programme has never been complete despite the different interventions. I have already discussed with the Attorney General about the issue of the war veterans compensation that remains a big subject in this area. We need to resolve the compensation process and close the chapter,” she said.
The need for the regional coordination office
Government found it wise to have some of the affairs regarding the Luweero Triangle region resolved and managed at the regional office since many war veterans are of age and cannot travel long distances to access services at the ministry in Kampala.
“The new office will bridge the communication gap and act as a coordinating centre for the various government projects under the Luweero Triangle Ministry. The new office is not for the war veterans but for government programs under the Luweero Triangle Ministry,” the minister clarified in a brief interview.
Liberation war compensation plan
While government estimates the number of liberation war veterans supposed to benefit from both the gratuity and war to be about 80,000, including those that have already been compensated, the different verification programmes organised by the Ministry of Defence have always incurred surprises of new war claimants who were never captured in the ministry data earlier.
In 2018, defence ministry commissioned a committee to oversee the verification exercise through documentation of an estimated 79,000 civilian and army veterans that had been lined up for compensation of their respective gratuity and pension areas worth Shs500 billion.
The committee was tasked to fix the gaps that had come up, including several cases of new claimants that the government thought had already benefited.
Mr Idris Ssedunga, the chairperson War Veterans Association admitted that each time the government comes up with a verification exercise for the war veterans, the list keeps growing with both the genuine claimants and impersonators.
“This has been a big challenge in the way of compensation. I hope the government will find a way of dealing with this problem once and for all,” he said.