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Compensation of Teso War Claimants: Thousands Run to Court for Letters of Administration

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The 20- page- weekly Aicerit Newspaper has more than half of its pages covered with applications of those seeking letters of administration, limiting space for local news in the region.
MP, Elija Okupa and George Kalemera, Commissioner in charge litigation at Attorney General Office at Soroti High Court.

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Over 1,000 families across Teso Sub Region have to the High court to secure letters of administration to enable them to access compensation from the government. The development precedes the anticipated compensation by the government to the people who lost their property and lives during the turbulent times in Teso region.   

Those seeking letters of administration are relatives whose parents, spouses or other kins died and lost property between the 1980s to 2005. They successfully sued the government for negligence that resulted in the loss of property and lives.   

The government put aside Shillings 50 billion for the compensation of more than 300,000 people across Teso. But the majority of those who went to court have since died, which has compelled their relatives to apply for the management of the deceased’s estate. 

Within the month of October alone, 774 applications for letters of administration were published in the local newspaper, Aicerit. The 20- page- weekly Aicerit Newspaper has more than half of its pages covered with applications of those seeking letters of administration, limiting space for local news in the region. 

Dan Outa, the News Editor of Aicerit Publication, says that they had to scale down on the news articles to accommodate the desperate community seeking help over the years.

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Vivian Anino, a widow from Ogongora Village, Orungo Sub County in Amuria, says that her husband, Michael Ebolu spent almost everything chasing for compensation before his death last year. She says that the compensation of their 24 head of cattle is the only hope for the family that was robbed by the Karimojong in 1988.   

She told our reporter that she borrowed 300, 000 Shillings from her in-law after exhausting all the avenues for a possible financial bailout. The claimants, who were expected to receive money this month might have to wait a bit longer for their long-term dream to come to pass. 

On Tuesday, Justice Henry Adonyo of High Court in Soroti deferred payment to November after learning that the Attorney General had no list of verified claimants for compensation. Last month, the High court heard that there were 33,664 claimants to be validated in Teso but it later emerged that the said list was missing the names of claimants represented by Omongole & Co. Advocates. 

Counsel Omongole contested the list, which Kampala Associated Advocates claimed was authentic and recommended for compensation. The Court has now ordered both the Attorney General, Omongole & Co. Advocates and Kampala Associated Advocates which represents Teso Animals and Property Compensation Organization- TAPCO to produce a list of claimants before November 1, 2021. 

Court also ordered all the parties to return to court on November 12, 2021, for fresh orders and that no payment shall be issued to people whose names are not verified by the court.