By Andrew Cohen Amvesi May 30, 2022
ARUA. Over 1000 members of Arua Konyi war victims’ association have given the government of Uganda an ultimatum of one month to compensate them lest they are going on a one-month hunger strike and on top, sue the government for failing to protect them during the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) insurgency in Northern Uganda.
A total of 1, 102 aggrieved victims, mainly the business community in Arua town are demanding for shs99,884,000,000 as compensation for the merchandise, money and lives they lost during the 20-year insurgency along Karuma – Pakwach highway in between 1988 to 2000.
According to Sam Ondoma of Alaka and Company Advocates, the lawyer representing the victims, the matter was first taken to court and later withdrawn after the government pleaded with his clients, promising that the money would be paid early this year.
But since then, Ondoma said several letters were written to remind the government despite President Yoweri Museveni’s directive to the Ministry of Defence and Veterans Affairs to pay the victims, but all in vain.
“On December 14, 2020, the office of the President wrote letters to the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Defence and Veteran’s Affairs to compensate the Konyi war victims in the greater Arua and these people are 1,102. This was after this group complained to the President through several correspondences. We had also issued demand notices to the Attorney General where we threatened to sue the government over this matter,” Ondoma said on Monday.
“So, the President directed that these people should be paid but up to now, nothing has been done. No feedback, no progress of whatever is taking place has been given to the victims and these people have suffered for over 20 years they have been following this money. These people got aggrieved and went to court to get a representative order with the idea of suing the government,” Ondoma explained.
He said, however, through the office of the RDC and RCC Arua, meetings were held with the affected people where it was resolved on May 25, 2021 that this issue should be peacefully handled out of court, promising that the victims will be paid.
“It is unfortunate to also report that up to date, after this case was withdrawn by the affected people with the view that they are going to be paid and the issue will be settled soon, there is nothing that has been done. So, my clients who are the victims are threatening to go on strike over this matter if they don’t receive any feedback within a period of one month,” Ondoma said.
When contacted on phone, Alex Matua, the chairperson of Arua Konyi war victims’ association confirmed the development and said they issued notices of the hunger strike earlier on May 17, 2022. He said the hunger strike which will be staged at the mayor’s garden in Arua town will start on June 17, 2022 and last for a period of one month.
“I have already notified the police and other security agencies in Arua that come June 17, 2022, we shall go on hunger strike for one month and thereafter, proceed to sue the government if we are not compensated before that date. All my members will camp at the mayor’s garden without eating anything for the entire period,” Matua confirmed.
Matua said the decision is as a result of the government’s continued silence over their matter. He said his members got some little hope on November 22, 2021 when officials from the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) came to verify their complaints and promised that they will be paid early this year but later, the CMI officials also went mute.
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