Veterans in Luweero have reacted with skepticism over the new proposed poverty eradication project announced by President Yoweri Museveni to boost household incomes in the district.
Last week, Museveni spent four days in Luweero and Nakaseke districts meeting veterans of the 1981-1986 liberation struggles in a bid to mobilize them to engage in modern farming to increase their household income and diffuse tension after renewed protests over delayed compensation.
While meeting more than 500 veterans from Kikyusa and Kamira Sub Counties at Kibengo village in Luweero on Thursday, Museveni said he had received numerous complaints from veterans who are claiming to live in abject poverty.
Museveni disclosed that he has formed zones based on the Past National Resistance Army War camps to set up seed and livestock multiplication center that would be distributed to veterans free of charge.
President Museveni said that he has tasked his brother General Salim Saleh and Brigadier Proscovia Nalweyiso to oversee the operationalisation of the zones to ensure that veterans are models in their areas. He explained the project is expected to get the veterans out of poverty and stop them from complaining about compensation schemes.
However, a number of veterans are skeptical about the initiative. They cite corruption and frustration by presidential aides. They instead want Museveni to address the issue of compensation, which they say has dragged on for the 27 years.
Livingstone Kategeya, the LC 3 chairperson Kamira Sub County says that only 100 of the registered 1232 veterans in his Sub County have been compensated. He says that most of the veterans are frustrated with government projects and languishing in abject poverty.
Kategeya asked the president to address the delayed compensation rather introduce new projects, because of the veterans are too weak because of old age. Rebecca Nabatanzi, another claimant says that her father was killed in NRA War and left 12 children on three acres of land, which are not sufficient for modern agricultural practices.
Nabatanzi says they have lost confidence in government projects because of corruption and favoritism so they want Museveni to pronounce himself on when they will be paid to enable develop their families.
Halima Namitala, another veteran says she is tired of empty promises and has lost government programmes because they have not benefited in them. Namitala says despite the fact that government introduced programs such as NAADS and Wealth for All- Bonnabagaggawale several people are still poor because of inequalities and corruption. She asked President to pay her compensation so that she can sort herself needs.
Retired Major Nsubuga Nyago says veterans under UFM/FEDEMO group were neglected and they tried to set up income generating projects on advice of President Museveni but they stalled over lack of funds.