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Tuesday,October 20,2020 23:19 PM

Ex-soldiers to get pension

By Vision Reporter

Added 17th February 2009 03:00 AM

West Nile ex-servicemen will be paid gratuity next year, the President said on Monday.

West Nile ex-servicemen will be paid gratuity next year, the President said on Monday.

By Cyprian Musoke and Frank Mugabi

West Nile ex-servicemen will be paid gratuity next year, the President said on Monday.

The soldiers had lost a case in which they were demanding at least 4.5 trillion shillings in pension and arrears.

Addressing a meeting at Arua Public Primary School, President Yoweri Museveni said the Government could not pay the money in the past due to military engagements in northern Uganda, South Sudan and the DR Congo.

“But Uganda is now peaceful because the army has matured. Nobody can disturb the peace and we are going to address this issue of gratuity,” he said.

The ex-service men, the President noted, served their country. “It was not their fault. It was the bad politics of the day,” he said.

The group, led by a former West Nile Bank Front (WNBF) commander Abdalatif Piyo, comprises former soldiers of the defunct Uganda Army and UNRF II. They gave Museveni a memorandum in which they asked for the gratuity, which they said had not been paid “despite promises”.

The Supreme Court ruled last month that former soldiers who served in the defunct Uganda Army, which was disbanded after the overthrow of Idi Amin in 1979, were not entitled to salary arrears and gratuity. The ruling dashed the hopes of 45,000 former soldiers who had expected about sh4.5 trillion in pension and arrears.

However, the Court of Appeal last year overturned the judgment and ruled that the former soldiers were entitled to gratuity.

The Government rejected the ruling and took the case to the Supreme Court.

It also overturned the Court of appeal ruling and said: “The former Uganda Army soldiers have never belonged to and they do not belong to the Uganda People’s Defence Forces.”

George Ssenkaali, the soldiers’ leader, said after the ruling that his members would abide by the court’s decision.

Museveni’s promise to pay the money despite this came as good news.

If Museveni fulfils the promise, they said, he should “prepare buckets for votes in West Nile”.

Presidential elections are due in 2011.

Ex-soldiers to get pension

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