Acholi War Debts Claimants will be compensated Sh1m up from sh600,000 for each head of cattle lost in a revised rate pronounced by Deputy Attorney General Jackson Kafuuzi on Wednesday.
The Government has so far verified a total of 16, 946 claimants in Acholi. Of the number, Gulu combined with Omoro District tops the list with 4, 927 claimants, followed by Agago 3,393; Nwoya 1,995, Kitgum 1,983, Amuru 1,470, and Lamwo 1,408.
This follows a protracted consultation meeting between the claimants, Acholi leaders, and officials from the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs led by the Attorney General, aiming at harmonizing the war claims.
The development comes after the Government through the Attorney General’s Office released sh150 billion to compensate the claimants who lost their livestock during insurgencies in Acholi, Lango and Teso sub-regions with each to receive sh50 billion for the next three years.
With payments expected to be effected beginning October, Kafuuzi told claimants that the Government considered to pay uniformly a sum of one million shillings for each cow to each of the claimants in Acholi, Lango and Teso sub-regions.
Abalo Otim Atwoma, a resident of Payuta village in Paduny Parish, Awach Sub-County in Gulu District who lost 128 herds of livestock in 1988 says the revised rate is still disproportionate, saying ever since he began following on his claims, he has only received sh3.7 million for four cattle.
The Secretary of the claimants, Dr Freddy Oyat, raised concerns over the unexplained reduction of the claimants on the list. He said associations submitted in the Attorney General’s office 23,000 names but only 16,946 names returned leaving unanswered questions about 6,054 others.
The region’s Members of Parliament led by Anthony Akol, the Kilak North MP under the Acholi Parliamentary Association – APG also demanded that the Ministry suspend issuance of Tax Identification Numbers and use of data cards to validate claimants who are causing unnecessary anxieties.
Jet Tumwebaze of Kampala Associated Advocates – KAA, and a lead Counsel for claimants criticized the Attorney General’s office for slowing down the war claims through introducing unnecessary and bureaucratic processes.
Matters of the war claims have dragged on since 2003, with the Government having released billions of shillings that were corruptly handled.
Early this year, the Government disbursed sh10 billion that was shared between Acholi, Teso, Lango and Karamoja sub-regions.