President to pay LRA war claimants

President Museveni acknowledges his supporters at a rally in Odek Sub-county, Gulu District, at the weekend. FILE BY PPU


Even before the Acholi war debt claimants account for the Shs7b they allegedly abused, they are likely to smile to the bank again after President Museveni at the weekend promised to pay the people who lost their property during the two-decade rebellion.

Campaigning in Awach, Aswa County in Gulu District, Mr Museveni explained that the delay to pay veterans and compensate the people who lost property during the LRA war was because government had to first invest in key sectors of the economy.

“The veterans have not received their money and I know this more than anybody else,” Mr Museveni said. “The wars they are talking about I am the one who was fighting them. I, therefore, do not need reminders about war debts, because we are going to pay them.”

He added: “Those who want us to fail want us to do everything at the same time, it’s impossible. We have put emphasis on the roads, the army, electricity, education and health especially immunisation because when we do those, then they help you to do other things. By strengthening the army, Ugandans have peace and they have time to do other things.”

Although there is no agreed figure, the 20,000 Acholi war debt claimants dotted in the various districts of a sub-region that was the epicentre of LRA insurgency, are demanding Shs38 trillion. However, government, through the Office of the Attorney General, has so far paid Shs12.1 billion.

On the issue of war veterans, Mr Museveni said they were demanding Shs1.5 trillion and his government has so far paid Shs1 trillion. He said in the 2015/16 financial year, Shs70b had been earmarked for this purpose. “We could pay the veterans in one year because we have more money than they need but if we do that, there will be no money for education, roads and others,” he said.

Museveni promised to fight poverty in Acholi through the Operation Wealth Creation programme and enjoined his government to carry out mass vaccination for Hepatitis B, a virus petrifying the Acholi and West Nile sub-regions.

the strategy
Explaining how his government intends to achieve poverty reduction and why it has taken him 29 years to deal with one of the major challenges in the country, Mr Museveni said his government had to deal with the obstacles to prosperity in a phased manner. “Many people don’t know how to start and small and get rich. It’s a problem for many people but the NRM is expert in prioritisation. We will deliver on our promises through step-by-step strategy,” he said.