Gen. Katumba Wamala, the Chief of Defence Forces for the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) has assured retired AMISOM soldiers that their money will be deposited in their accounts by the end of this week.
Gen. Katumba delivered the good news to anxious soldiers during a ceremony where 160 soldiers were retired from the force. Katumba specified: “Only this bunch, all their allowances will be on their accounts not later than 9th this month since Amisom has finished paying.”
Katumba’s comments came after some of the retirees had complained of excessive delays by the force to pay their salaries. The send off ceremony was held at Bombo military barracks.
Katumba said the African Union had already sent them a cheque to pay arrears for soldiers who had served under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and that salaries would be in their accounts by Friday Dec 9, 2016.
Katumba however noted that the government still owes many soldiers money in unpaid salaries amounting to Ushs563bn. This includes those soldiers who served in the 1980-85 liberation war.
Offering counsel to retirees
As he sent off the peace keepers, Gen. Katumba urged the retirees to sit down with their wives to plan and invest their retirement packages rather than blow it through drinking and other luxurious ventures.
“When you get this package, please sit down with your wives and plan for it. Don’t invest in businesses which you can’t manage. This is your money, you have worked for it in blood and water; remember all your friends whom you joined with but we took back coffins. You [are lucky] you are going back home alive, Therefore plan for it and don’t drink unnecessarily,” said Katumba.
Katumba also asked them to remain vigilante and maintain discipline as well as participate in community development activities.
“Don’t fade out in the village. Stay relevant because opportunities are coming to you and please utilize them. When elections come, please present yourselves for election. Participate in agriculture, and endure the slow pace of civilian life since you have been used to orderly life of military.”
Cautioned against rebellion
Gen. Katumba used the recent incidents in Kasese to urge the retirees against participating in subversive activities, noting that they face serious consequences.
“The army has natured you don’t go out and start talking bad about the institution that has been your life. In 3 years, you are going to join reserve forces. And please don’t get involved in scandals like Kasese. You are going out as soldiers, although you are without the uniform.”
Brig. Samuel Adda, whose military career started in 1963, encouraged the retirees to make good use of the little pay they have obtained.
“We salute you for what you have done for the country. That’s why we have lifted the embargo of not going home and very soon we shall join you at home because now its time for us also to retire,” said Adda
Capt. Charles Kabona, from the UPDF spokesperson’s office informed The Sunrise that the retires have been fully trained about living with civilians in addition to being equipped with financial management skills.