Red Tape at KCC Denies Hundreds their Pension

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Ruth Katuramu is a widow in her late 50s. In 1993, her husband who worked with Kampala City Council 15 years passed away suddenly. With 10 children to feed, clothe and educate, Katuramu says she desperately needed her husband's pension to help her family. However more than a decade later, Ruth Katuramu is still awaiting the money and has almost given up hope.
Ruth Katuramu is one of hundreds of widows, orphans and pensioners who camp at the KCC headquarters every day waiting for news of when they will receive the money owed to them. The pension payment system in KCC is mired by red tape and even if everything is in order, it usually takes a pensioner at least one year to start receiving money.
Simon Muhumuza, the KCC spokesperson, says the council spends 38 million shillings on pension payments every month. He admits that the process of payment is long, but says it is not impossible to deal with.
Muhumuza explains that what it takes is for a pension applicant to have all his or her employment documents ready and available for scrutiny before payment can be approved.
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Muhumuza says a survivors' pension is also available for people whose relatives died in the service of KCC. He says only a few people have access to it because of legal issues and it is accessible through the office of the Administrator General.
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This explanation is not good enough for Ruth Katuramu. She says her late husband, Joseph Mbaasa Katuramu, worked faithfully and tirelessly as a security officer for KCC until he was retrenched in 1990.
When Joseph Katuramu was alive, he did not receive pension and now it appears that his survivors may not get any money either.
Ruth Katuramu says her first born son, Geoffrey Mukisa, was forced to leave school early because she had no money to for his education. Two of her daughters also married at a very early age because she could not afford to provide for them.
Still, Katuramu is determined not to despair. She says she will continue to walk the corridors of KCC, to sit on the hard benched for long hours and to demand that the memory of her husband and his service to Kampala City should be honored.