June 20, 2013

Resident Protests Unfair Compensation by Army

Lt. Lawrence Orobo during his trial for the motorcycle theft
Lt. Lawrence Orobo during his trial for the motorcycle theft

Edirisa Zzimbe, a resident of Kapeeka trading Center in Nakaseke district is protesting the unfair compensation by the army for his motorcycle that was stolen by a UPDF soldier. On 28th August 2012, Zzimbe petitioned President Yoweri Museveni at a public function in Nakaseke about the theft of his motorcycle registration number UDM 714T by Lieutenant Lawrence Orobo, who was attached to Kakiri Army barracks in 2009. As a result, Museveni ordered UPDF to buy for Zzimbe a new motorcycle and compensate him all the revenue he had lost from September 9th, 2009 to August 28th 2012.

He also ordered that Lt. Orobo be dismissed from the army over theft.  Zzimbe calculated all the revenue he had lost since his motorcycle was stolen and came up with a figure of 23 million shillings, which he submitted to Mbuya Army Compensation Committee. The compensation committee is comprised of Assistant Secretary Ministry of Defense D. Sseninde, James K. Mutabazi, Major T. Museveni, Major T. Kyebayiga, and Lt. Col Mugarura among others. Zzimbe says that he was disappointed when he was only paid 8,240,000 million shillings in May 2013. He says the money is too little because he had accumulated a lot of debts in the process of tracking down Lt. Orobo. He claims that after clearing the debts, he was left with very little money couldn’t him a new motorcycle.

Zzimbe says the motorcycle was his major source of income adding that when it was stolen his four children dropped out of school as his earnings were greatly affected. He accused the compensation committee of depriving him of fair compensation because he is a poor man. Suleiman Bogere, the chairperson Kapeeka Agaliwamu Boda Boda Association says Zzimbe had employed Jonathan Mubiru, who is also languishing in abject poverty because of the motorcycle theft. He asks the UPDF to respect Museveni’s directive and compensate the affected parties fairly.

James Mugumya, another motorcycle taxi operator wonders how UPDF and Central Government can fail to pay Zzimbe 23 million shillings yet they are able to pay city tycoon Hassan Bassajabalaba 142 billion shillings. Moses Ssenfuuma, the Kapeeka Sub County LC 3 chairperson says the decision by the compensation committee to disregard the president’s directive to compensate Zzimbe fully for all the loses he had suffered has tainted the image of UPDF in the community. Ssenfuuma says they are waiting for another opportune time to inform the president that justice was not done to the victim of the motorcycle theft. Attempts by our reporter to speak to Col Paddy Ankunda, the UPDF spokesperson about the matter were futile. Brigadier Geoffrey Kakama, the chairperson of the Division General Court Martial advised the complainants last week to sue the attorney general and UPDF if they are dissatisfied with the compensation.

He however said that, Lt Orobo was charged and tried in the court martial, which convicted him to six years in jail for the motorcycle theft.

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