Opinion: Mr. Sunday has still not repaid his dues to his combatants

As the celebrations to mark 36 years of President Museveni’s reign draw closer, several veterans are still demanding their compensation. We have talked to some of them who want to meet the President and tell him how his government has neglected them. The Ministry of Defence is on a countrywide verification campaign for the veterans. However, in the Rwenzori region, some veterans with missing documents claim they were washed away by River Nyamwamba that flooded recently” (NTV Uganda – ‘Ex-combatants stuck over missing discharge certificates’ 22.01.2022).

We are in January 2022 and these combatants was participating and fighting the liberation war, which the President and his patronage have been living large on for years. The National Resistance Army/Movement (NRA/M) have held power since 1986 and had the opportunity to pay and help the NRA war-veterans. However, they have clearly failed in doing so.

The Ministry of Defence has the biggest budget posts and huge war-chest year-upon-year. It is like the Veterans Assistance Program of the early 1990s didn’t catch up or was properly built to help the ones who fought. The Uganda Peoples Defence Force (UPDF) and Ministry of Defence has the sufficient funds and manpower to make things happening. As well, as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was funding the establishment of VAP, because it was a paid planned for demobilization and disarmament. Therefore, the Government of Uganda had a plan and issued programmes to secure their compensation. However, even with IMF and donors giving funds back in 1992. The combatants was lost in the web and forgotten.

The ex-combatants was supposed to get a setting-in package. That is what many has never received. This is empty promises to the ones who made it possible and fought with the President. These was the ones who risked their lives in the bush and could easily been killed in the war. However, he haven’t appreciated them or valued their role. That is why they have been paid to this day.

It is really tragic, when you know the Government of Uganda and IMF had set-up programs and phases of unleashing this. Not only to silence the weapons and the ex-combatants, but give them a future beyond the battlefield. However, the greed of Museveni never cease to amaze me. As he wants even the ones who fought to beg from him. Instead of paying their dues and with added cost.

This just show how little other people lives matters to the NRA/M. When they cannot even take care of their own. So, many of the ones who deserved the setting-in package and be secured with the VAP. Nevertheless, that was too much to ask for and he wouldn’t even do that for them. That’s the sort of fella Yoweri is…

It feels even absurd when you know… the IMF and donors was about to help the Republic to facilitate it and give the ex-combatants what they needed and deserved. However, that was clearly too much to ask. Peace.

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