Members of Parliament have expressed concern about the ongoing verification exercise for claimants who lost livestock due to insurgencies, saying it is unfair and lacks regional balance.
Government through Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs is currently verifying claimants and beneficiaries from Acholi, Lango and Teso sub-regions who lost livestock during the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and National Resistance Army (NRA) wars of the 1980s.
The Deputy Attorney General, Hon Jackson Kafuuzi said that the exercise is in advanced stages of evaluation and assessment of the livestock compensation claims.
“The display exercise is ongoing with the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs due to follow up with an exercise of compiling details of genuine claimants and beneficiaries based on bio-data using data cards,” Kafuuzi said. Kafuuzi explained that over 90,000 court cases on livestock compensation had been by claimants prompting government to commence a verification exercise that would lead to compensation.
Legislators were however, concerned that there are other regions like Kasese which they said were harshly hit by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels but are missing in the compensation programme.
“In 1996, Kasese had its own share when it was invaded from DRC by ADF rebels. Kasese Municipality was set on fire, businesses were lost, schools were burnt and students were abducted, but no compensation has been paid” said Bukonzo East MP, Hon Godfrey Katusabe.
The Chief Opposition Whip, Hon John Baptist Nambeshe pointed out Bugisu sub-region which he said has often been neglected in government compensation programmes.
“You have deliberately left out Bugisu; if you are talking about LRA insurgency spill outs, the chief strategist of Kony hailed from Bududa and even Alice Lakwena spent nights in Bugisu,” said Nambeshe.
The request to include other regions in the compensation exercise was however met with opposition from government, on the basis that it might disrupt the already ongoing process.
“I am afraid that if we bring in something new, the northern region compensation will be pulled back,” said Kafuuzi.
Kilak North County MP, Hon Anthony Anthony wondered why government did not consult legislators from the region before commencing the verification exercise, a discussion that prompted Deputy Speaker, Anita Among to direct Kafuuzi to consult the MPs and report back to Parliament.
“By me making an order for you to sit with MPs from the respective regions, there was a reason; you would have understood the reasons, now you are going back to sit with area MPs to understand what is happening in each region,” she said.