Veterans in greater Kabale region are up in arms against Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) coordinators for disregarding them in the selection of beneficiaries and distribution of agricultural inputs. They argue that the program, crafted to enhance household incomes has left them behind, yet many of them are languishing in poverty after so many years of service to the State.
According to information on its website, Operation Wealth Creation targets to make sure that all Ugandan homesteads join commercial farming. Over the last five years, the program has procured and distributed inputs like Robusta coffee seedlings, heifers, hybrid goats, piglets, farm tractors, pasture feed seedlings, fertilizers, chicks and rabbits, irrigation equipment and components to beneficiaries in various parts of the country.
Operation Wealth creation lists among its tasks, the provision of planting and breeding materials, mechanization of agriculture, pension and gratuity for civilian veterans and former national forces, provision of microfinance services and overseeing the systematic improvement of infrastructure in the sectors of agricultural knowledge, health, energy, communication and other services; and value addition.
But Johnson Byamugisha Sunday, a veteran from Rukiga District says that none of the veterans in the area has benefited from the activities of Operation Wealth Creation.
Justus Tumusiime, a veteran from Muhanga town council, Rukiga district says that he has made several attempts to request for inputs with no success. He says that as a result, many of the veterans are grounded in poverty and frustrated.
Patrick Niwagaba, the Chairman for Rukiga District Veterans Association appeals for government intervention to ensure that veterans are given special consideration in the implementation of its programmes.
Caleb Turyamutunga, the Greater Kabale Veterans Association Chairperson attributes the problem to failure by the government to have veterans’ representatives at sub-county and district councils to advocate for such benefits.
But State Minister for Veteran Affairs Bright Rwamirama says that most veterans have not benefited from Operation Wealth Creation program because they failed to form associations through which the support could be channelled.