ISINGIRO – Retired and veteran army officers in Isingiro District have petitioned President Yoweri Museveni to task the responsinble ministry to expedite the process of paying their pension and gratuity that they have been waiting for, for a long time.
The veterans were meeting the state minister in charge of Veteran Affairs Lt. Col Bright Rwamirama Kanyontore who was meeting them on Saturday February 9 at Isingiro District headquarters.
Rtd Pte Mishaki Kananura revealed that since retirement in 1979 he has never received any pay from government.
He said: “I am now 82 years old. I am one of the people who started this movement then after crossing from Obote government. But I have never received my pension. We now want money.”
He pointed out that the fresh registration of veterans only benefits the NRA officers “Remember I was serving in Obote’s government I think that’s why I am not considered I was only given condolence of only shs5m in 2016 when I lost my brother but since 1979 I have never received any thing.”
Mike Wambi, the commissioner rehabilitation psycho-social support and resettlement of the army, said that out of 200,000 veterans in Uganda, 7,984 have not received their pension since January 2019, adding that the ministry needs a total of UGX508 billion to cater for the veterans in the country.
Peninah Tushemereirwe, the caretaker to late Sgt. Eryezari Rutagangibwa, noted that since 1995, they have not received their father’s pension and gratuity and asked government to expedite the process.
“My father first fought the 1st and 2nd World War and in 1979 he again offered four cows to Mukiibi and Rwakaitema to help Museveni in the bush war but since then we have never got any support not even our father’s pension. I have injected like UGX3 million following my father’s money as a heir but up to now I have received nothing,” explained Tushemereirwe.
Late Rutagangibwa left 10 girls and five boys.
In response, Rwamirama blamed the delay on Public Service which has failed to settle veterans’ pension files. “To remove your files from the Public Service to arrange them has been a big problem. Towards Christmas we had 27,000 files that had not been worked on because they were messed up.”
He, however, confirmed that the ministry is working on the UPDF and Veterans Bill that will equally benefit all veterans.
“The UPDF and Veterans Bill is being worked on by Parliamentary council…it will be discussed in Cabinet and be forwarded to Parliament for passing. I think in two months, it will be a law,” Rwamirama said.
“Those who were receiving 20,000 when this law is passed you will still receive the same like the one received by sergeants, lieutenants and other higher ranks. When you have a discharge certificate presented at any government hospital you receive a special treatment, it also allows your child to receive school benefits from any of our barracks until 18 years,” he said.
He further promised to resolve pension issues before 2021. “In just two years before 2021 chaos in pension files should have been worked on and payments started.
Rwamirama contributed UGX4 million cash to the veterans’ Sacco in Isingiro District and encouraged veterans in other districts to form groups to benefit in government programmes such as OWC and UWEP.