The challenge of effective management of veteran affairs in Uganda is connected to our country's turbulent post independence history when many combatants left military service without formal discharge to enable payment of their retirement benefits. Over the spell of 24 years since independence, no formal attempts were made by the successive Governments to address and streamline veterans' issues. This created a large number of former combatants with no clear policy or plans for both their benefits on exit from active service or how they were to cope with life in the communities after discharge.
This state of affairs, coupled with the inadequate budget appropriated to the Ministry of Defence, constrained the capacity of the Ministry to pay the terminal benefits promptly leading to a build-up of a large stock of pension, gratuity and other benefits arrears. As a matter of fact, by December 3 I 2018, the case backlog of unpaid military pensions and gratuity stood at 79,084 worth Uganda shillings 508,636,383,717.
Cognisant of the social economic plight of military veterans in the countr)\ in his reorganisation of Government in 20 16, H.E The President appointed a Minister of State for Defence and Veteran Affairs/ Veteran Affairs and renamed the Ministry of Defence to Ministry of Defence andVeteran Affairs to comprehensively address military veterans' issues. As a consequence of the creation of the docket of veteran affairs in the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs, a number of reforms have been undertaken.
Under the new reforms, the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs is committed to ensuring that the case backlog of military pensions, gratuity and compensations is settled once and for all.
The Veteran pension's scheme which is regulated by the UPDF Act, 2005 and the Pensions Act Cap, 286 has been jointly administered by the Ministries of Defence and Veteran Affairs and Public Service. This dual management led to some delays in the management of military pension, gratuity and other terminal benefits. This has further been compounded by absence of adequate records including active and valid bank accounts, probate/letters of administration in the case of deceased military service personnel and national identity cards.