Hoima Veterans Protest Over Pension Arrears

Audio 1

A group of over 500 veterans have pitched camp at the Hoima Resident District Commissioner's Office, protesting government's failure to clear their pension and gratuity arrears.

Led by the Chairman Hoima veteran's committee, retired Lieutenant Salim Kiiza, the disgruntled group stormed the RDC's office in expression of anger at public service minister, Henry Muganwa Kajura, who they accused of abandoning them in the meeting.

Kajura had called the veterans and other pensioners demanding arrears for a meeting with officials from the ministry over their demands.

The minister left the meeting shortly after addressing the group promising to return shortly. He did not do so as promised which angered the ex-service men.

The veterans accused the minister of disappearing without providing a solution to their long clamored pension arrears.

Lieutenant Christopher Koojo, one of the protesting veterans says they had opted to camp at the RDC's office so he could channel their demand to government. He vowed that his group will not leave the venue until their money has been paid.

The group also re-choed their earlier stand of boycotting the Friday elections if their money was not paid.

Cue in.. "We ex-service men..."

Cue out... "one Uganda...."

Al-Mohammoud Watimba, the Deputy RDC, assured the ex-servicemen of government's commitment to clearing their pension benefits. Watimba however adds that this is a gradual process and it's being done in phases.

Cue in... "there are..."

Cue out... "their money..."

The protestors have however stuck to their guns and vowed not to vacate the area despite the Deputy RDC's assurance. By press time this evening the group was still seated in the RDC's compound.

Meanwhile, the matter took a political twist when the opposition FDC attempted to lure the disgruntled group to their side.

Francis Atugonza, the aspiring Hoima Mayor and FDC's National secretary for trade and industry stormed the venue in company of other party officials.

Atugonza told the group of how the NRM government was neglecting its people to such an extent and advised them to defect to FDC.

He immediately announced that his party president, Kizza Besigye had donated them 300,000 shillings to help buy food, attracting a huge applause and chanting of the FDC "ONE UGANDA, ONE PEOPLE" slogan.