KAMPALA – World war ex-servicemen have petitioned the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, over unpaid gratuity dating back to pre-independence days.
The petitioners under the Uganda World War I and II Ex-servicemen of Kyaggwe also appealed to government to give them the land that was allocated to them by the Queen of England at the end of World War II.
Led by their representative, Andrew Kasumba, the petitioners met the Speaker on Monday, 28 January 2019.
“The petitioners pray that government also pays the ex-servicemen gratuity since the responsibility to be paid was handed over to the Ugandan government by the British in 1957,” he said.
The petitioners included fighters in either or both of the great wars, spouses of fighters, who died during or after the wars, and heirs of the fighters with letters of administration over their estates.
They told the Speaker that on 15 January 1945, during a meeting held in Nairobi by British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, and representatives from Uganda, Kenya and Tanganyika, the Queen of England allocated land, in appreciation, to people that participated in the war.
“After the World War a meeting was held in Nairobi where the Queen of England gave land as appreciation to people that participated in the war,” he said.
Kasumba said that the 290 ex-servicemen from Kyaggwe were allocated 13.6 square miles of land in Bwebereeza, Gangu. Each of them was meant to get 30 acres.
He added that this position was reaffirmed by Johash Mayanja Nkangi, who was the Chairman Uganda Land Commission in July 2010.
The National Forestry Authority, the petitioners said, has however claimed part of the land as a forest, and said it would require to be gazetted by Parliament.
The ex-servicemen also asked the Speaker to expedite the process through which their gratuity will be paid.
“The petitioners pray that government also pays the ex-servicemen gratuity since the responsibility to be paid was handed over to the Ugandan government by the British in 1957,” Kasumba said.
The High Court, following a 2010 suit by Eliab Kavuma, directed government to pay the ex-servicemen their gratuity with an interest of 6 percent every year since their retirement.
The Speaker promised to convene a meeting with the Attorney General and the Minister of Finance to resolve the concerns of the ex-servicemen.
“This matter is urgent in nature. I’m going to call for a meeting between the Attorney General and the Minister of Finance to see how to handle your issue,” Kadaga said.