Seventy-five-year-old Bicentina Alal and her 80-year-old husband Tito Okema, have been saving money in a metallic case for over three years. The couple lives with their six grandchildren in Kali-Kali Village in Rec Iceke Parish in Layima Sub County, which is about 50kilometers away from Gulu City Centre.
couple in Amuru district is stuck with more than 1.6 million Shillings in notes damaged by termites. Seventy-five-year-old
Bicentina Alal and her 80-year-old husband Tito Okema, have been saving money in a metallic case for over three years.
The couple who live with
their six grandchildren in Kali-Kali Village in Layima Sub
County, about 50 kilometres from Gulu City Centre, opened
their saving box in June only to discover that the paper
notes had been destroyed by termites.
The damaged notes are in the
denominations of 20,000 (35), 50,000 (10), 10,000 (36) and 5,000. Some of the notes are damaged beyond recognition. Alal
told URN on Tuesday that they have been saving their proceeds from the sale of
papyrus mats, dried cassava chips, crops, mingling sticks, poultry and domestic
animals. He said that they would pick a part of the money once in a while for
their medication or supporting their
//Cue in: ‘’abaro gwana ene…
Cue out: …weng obed tye.’’//
She explained that the money was in good shape until last
month when they saw the metallic case covered with mud. According to
Alal, they were astonished when they opened the metallic case that was hidden
under their wooden bed only to discover that the money had been eaten by termites.
Her husband, Tito Okema, says that left without any other option,
they gathered the damaged notes and are now keeping them in another metallic
bowl with the hope that someone may come to their rescue.
Okema explained that they neither have bank accounts, sim cards nor even
subscribe to the village SACCOS where they can safely keep their savings. Asked
why they don`t own any savings account or subscribe to any group, the couple
said that they do not trust anyone with their money.
//Cue in: ‘’nongo tye cene…
Cue out: …ma adong kwede.’’//
‘’It was about one million shillings plus, the money was to help me with
sickness and for the children. I cannot now do anything because the money is
already spoiled if it can be changed. I want to be assisted if it can be. Me I
don`t have any other work, I am a farmer ever since childhood.’’ Okema said.
Cosmas Apuke, a son of the couple was equally astonished on Tuesday when his
parents disclosed and showed URN the damaged notes. He noted that
he is yet to find out from the Bank of Uganda whether they can replace the damaged
notes, whose serial numbers can be retrieved from their archives.
Emmy Daniel Ojara is a young journalist and has been practicing since 2013, during which he covered land rights violation in the contested Apaa and Lakang in Amuru as his first take ups while at Gulu Fm, Favor Fm and later Paidha Fm and Speak Fm where he is still attached.
Human rights abuses and denied access to land by security and government agencies has been the major aftermath of the contest over the lands. The underprivileged such as women, children and the elderly faced challenges in accessing soc