Commentary: In the case of livestock compensation
By Hon. Levi Okodi Macpio
Lira—25, September 2021: Cattle have been the livelihood of a good majority of the people of Eastern, Northern and Western Uganda since time immemorial.
From cattle, the people were able to derive their livelihoods through many economic activities. These are facts that cannot be disputed.
There are living examples of people or persons who are well-to-do in this country who have derived their wealth from keeping cattle. A case in point is our own President, General Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who has gotten rich through cattle trade or business.
In order to understand the predicament of the people who are claiming compensation for the animals looted during insurgencies in Uganda, we need to look at the deplorable situations in which they continue to live.
Year in and year out, our demographic statistics tell us the sad news of our poverty level in Eastern and Northern Uganda. The two regions were looted of their capital—cattle; mostly between 1986 and 2003. Some of these now very poor people owned cattle whose number compared favorably with those owned by our beloved President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
If these animals were kept, how many billionaires would we have in this country?
Modernity demands that we settle our grievances either outside or inside courts of law. We have pursued this principle through our perennial appeals to government overtime now, and we are not about to abandon it.
Crude people resolve their problems through demonstrations and other forms of violence, and we are not that type.
In early January 2021, when we met here (Lira) over the matter just before the last general elections, the Government of Uganda’s body language was very positive and we responded by voting positively as well. That good will must not be abused or overlooked.
Government sometimes expresses goodwill and leaves it to the civil personality to implement. Government allocates money for specific purposes but instead of them directing the money to the proper purposes, they impose themselves and become competitors for that money.
Now that our civil servants are well remunerated, they should desist from looting Ugandans.
It has been a long struggle, but we are now here to offer our unreserved efforts to make sure that this animal compensation exercise comes to its logical conclusion so that the people of Eastern and Northern Uganda are rid of poverty.
We shall do this without fear or favor.
The writer is a senior presidential advisor on political affairs in Lango sub region and the clan chief (Awitong) of Atek Okwenye and a former legislator in the National Resistance Council.