The Government of Uganda lacks funds to pay gratuity and terminal benefits to ex-combatants who served under the Milton Obote and Iddi Amin regime, the Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi has disclosed.
He said this after a group of ex-combatants in Arua tasked him on Wednesday to explain why government had taken long to pay them after compelling them to register and open bank accounts.
Through Kasiano Wadri, the Terego county MP, the ex-combatant said government continues tossing them as if they didn’t serve diligently yet most of them can’t afford the basic necessities of life. Wadri said many of the ex-combatants have succumbed to old age, while government continues frustrating the remaining ones.
Information obtained from the Arua based offices of the regional reserve shows that there are more than 15,000 registered ex-combatants in West Nile region. However, most of them have not yet received their gratuity and terminal benefits.
In his response during the burial of General Mustafa Adrisi, the the former Vice President under the Iddi Amin regime, Mbabazi said government lacks funds to offset the payments. He explains that government has been engaged in various wars and couldn’t pay the former soldiers. He asked the ex-combatants to remain calm saying they are working hard to offset the benefits.
The revelation by the prime minister didn’t go down well with the former soldiers some of whom borrowed or sold their property to raise to open bank accounts. Buga Matata served under the Uganda Army. He said it appears government wants all the ex-combatants to die so that their benefits can be shared by corrupt officials.
But Abdalatif Tiyoa, the secretary of the combatants association says despite the revelation by the premier that there was no money, some beneficiaries have received their packages. He however, couldn’t disclose how many soldiers have received their money.
Lt. Mark Mutono, the West Nile UPDF spokesperson also said he is aware some people have been paid. He said the paid is being executed in phases because government has competing priorities.