By Okoodi Abooki
Army Veterans in Isingiro district have appealed to government to take them for foreign missions in order for them to earn some money.
The veterans claim that ever since they retired from the force they have never received any benefits in form of military pensions, gratuity or Ex-gratia and this has greatly exposed them to serious hardships in adjusting to civilian life.
Mishaki Kanunuura an 82 year old man says the money government released for them was channeled through district Administration and ended up in wrong hands. He even blamed government for failing to provide assistance to families of soldiers who died during the liberation war.
Retired major Topher Agaba the Isingiro district veterans league chairman says once the veterans are allowed to go for foreign missions this will help them improve welfare of their families because apparently they dont have any source of income.
Major Stephen Rwakanuma the area Veterans Program Officer said that most of the veterans have no land and that some stay in rented houses which is even not sustainable since they no long earn anything from government
But Bright Rwamirama the State Minister for Defense in charge affairs said that although all veterans are part of the reserve force majority of them cannot easily be recalled for missions.
He said such a move depends on the level of reserve which said must be within three years after retirement.
He urged them to be patient saying his ministry has come up with the UPDF and Veterans bill meant to repeal veterans assistance board and also address such challenges faced by veterans
He said over 2000 files for Veterans are ready for payment and this is a good move to clear the pending pension case backlog of pensions and gratuity for the 79,084 files.
Those earmarked for payment include, soldiers who served in various capacities since Ugandas post-independence such as world war two, UNLA, Uganda defense Forces among others. The minister was in the area to verify veterans claims.
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