Lt. Col (Rtd) Cyrus Kigongo, who served the army for 33-years since 1986 before retiring in 2019 observed the veterans who turned up for the exercise were visibly worn-out depicting misery in their lives after retirement.
Army veterans queue for physical verification at Kololo Airstrip in Kampala. Photo by Dominic Ochola
Senior army veterans have rallied their
comrades who are still in active military service to invest for the future and ease their
lives during retirement.
The observation was made by some retired senior officers who had turned up for the physical verification of the
veterans, their relatives, the estate of the deceased comrades, widows and
widowers. The three weeks’ nationwide
exercise that was rolled out on Monday, January 17 is being
conducted by the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs together with
the Uganda People’s Defense Forces.
Lt. Col (Rtd) Cyrus Kigongo, who
served the army for 33-years since 1986 before retiring in 2019 observed the
veterans who turned up for the exercise were visibly worn-out depicting misery in
their lives after retirement. He implored the government to
consider enhancing the remuneration of the men in uniform to enable them to venture into personal enterprises and have alternative income
He observed that several veterans
are also battling old-age and terminal illnesses, and without the sustainable flow
of income, they bank their hopes on gratuity and pension payments that
sometimes heighten their level of vulnerability.
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Another retiree, Captain Phineas
Kiwanuka who retired in 2007 after 15 years of service pointed out that all
government workers on payroll must begin thinking of retirement early enough to
achieve a desirable future.
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Both Kigongo and Kiwanuka attest
that the overnment remunerations are not enough to meet the overwhelming demands
of the workers, and called on Government to devise better ways of honourably rewarding
Speaking to URN during an interview from Kololo Airstrip, Captain Amos Nsamba, the Military Police
Spokesperson who is in charge of the exercise for Kampala Metropolitan, Buganda
and Busoga regions said that over 1,200 veterans have so far been verified.
Captain Nsamba observed several
retirees struggled to participate in the physical verification due to advanced
age and other health complications. He criticized
close and abled family members of such elderly persons for not accompanying
them for the exercise.
Captain Nsamba explained they were
validating documents such death certificates for the deceased officers, active
bank accounts, letters of administration, National IDs and other relevant
documents to enable the Ministry to set an up-to-date database for the pensioners.
The Ministry has not verified army veterans
since 2016, and they anticipate validating over 68,000 retirees across the
Ochola's journalism career begun from Radio King 90.2 FM in Gulu around 2009, and Radio Rupiny 95.7 Fm under Vision Group in 2012. He also reported for Mighty Fire 91.5 Fm, Kitgum in 2015 before joining Wizarts Foundation in 2017.
He has been reporting for Uganda Radio Network (URN) since 2017 before being posted as Bureau Chief Kitgum, and latr Gulu between 2018 - 2021. Currently, he reports from Parliament.