Kitgum War Debt Claimants Complain of Verification Fatigue

Rose Lakot Ocaya, a 62-year-old widow says that she has not received any penny as compensation for her claim ever since she started filing compensation forms, about 10-years ago.
05 Dec 2021 12:19

Audio 2

More than 100 war debt claimants from Omiya Anyima Sub-county in Kitgum District have complained about being fatigued with the endless verification exercises, which is instead making them lose more money in bank charges.

The compensation covers persons who lost their livestock and other properties during past insurgencies in Acholi, Lango and Teso sub-regions, an exercise for which the government has already committed 150 billion Shillings. Figures for that the government has so far verified a total of 16, 946 claimants in the Acholi region and more than 1,400 of these are in Kitgum district.

But Rose Lakot Ocaya, a 62-year-old widow says that she has not received any penny as compensation for her claim ever since she started filing compensation forms, about 10-years ago.  She says the verification teams have gone to them severally and advised them to open bank accounts, which only keeps eating into their initial savings.

The complaint was raised during the induction of local leaders organized by Chua East Member of Parliament Margaret Lamwaka Odwar at Omiya Anyima Sub County on Saturday, December 10.

Luo//Cue in; “Ma naka kimiyo…

Cue out…Acholi dong obed bedo gi.”//

Translation:“Ever since we were given these forms to fill, we have been doing it over and over again yet we are not getting any payment in compensation. We keep moving back and forth daily to do verification and fill forms.  The verification team came here and told us that our money is ready but we have not seen anything. What the claimants are doing best is repetitively reactivating bank accounts that go dormant after some months, since we don’t have enough money to keep the accounts open. Which is causing us more problems. If the government knows that this program will not yield, they should not disturb us. They should let us be.”

Julius Peter Ocan, another war debt claimant expressed concern about the reduction in the number of animals claimed by some of them. Ocan says that the recent list of verified claimants showed that he is entitled to only 10 cattle instead of 25.

According to Ocan, any group whose name starts with Acholi brings bad thoughts to the members and hardship to the leaders, because of the manner in which the war debt claim issue is being handled. “The moment you form a group with a name starting with “Acholi,” people will immediately relate it to Acholi War Debt Claimants’ Association, and that is where your leadership hurdles will start,” Ocan said.

However, the Kitgum Resident District Commissioner, William Komakech, asked the claimants to be patient, saying the process is still ongoing. He said the issues delaying the process was varying figures of claimants with leaders of Acholi war debt claimants. 

English//Cue in: “The process of…

Cue out…you are paid.”//

Another main issue of contention in the war debt compensation process is the conflicting figures of claimants.

In Kitgum district, for instance, there is a varying number of people verified. The Attorney General’s register shows 1,547 verified claimants, while the list displayed in the sub-counties in Kitgum shows 1,463 claimants, and other sources indicate that the district has 1,983 claimants.

Payment of the war debt claimants who lost their property and animals during pasts wars has dragged on for years. In January 2019, President Museveni told Acholi NRM leaders who were demanding quick payment of the claims, that the funds earmarked for compensating the claimants were diverted to aid major national infrastructure developments, such as roads and Information and Communication Technologies.