Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Government Compensation of July 11 Kampala bomb victims could be handled better

Wednesday, 18 August 2010, the Ministry of Internal Affairs published a list of those who died in the July 11th bombs in Kampala as well as those who were injured and went to various hospitals. The 1st anomaly in the process is why the Ministry did not start off by inviting the next of kin to come with particulars concerning their relation with the dead. It surprises that the Ministry decided to publish names of those who could have collected bodies of the dead as beneficiaries to the shs 5,000,000 and now wants any objections within 14 days. This process is wrong. The circumstances in which the immediate relatives were in on getting news of their dear ones death meant that they needed assistance. The names of those who collected the bodies as compared to those of the dead is clear testimony to this matter.
I recall a Bukedde story if I am not mistaken where relatives of the man who lost a wife due to a bullet at Nkumba had difficult time with relatives when only shs 1,000,000 was given as compensation by UPDF. Matters of this nature are very serious and should be given the seriousness they deserve. What should have been done in the first instance is now to be done last. Some of the immediate relatives may even be shocked by this advertisement. It is very irregular. For anybody who has ever lost a dear one, it is common to delegate a 3rd party to collect the remains, but it turns irresponsible on the part of Government to get the lists of those who collected the bodies and tally them to compensation. If it were possible, the Ministry would withdraw that advert and instead call on the immediate relatives of the dead to come with supporting documentation to claim that money. It is tricky; if someone had a family, like a School Director who died in the bomb and the husband was in Mulago, how is such a case to be handled? As the husband did not collect the body and the family of the late where she was buried may be a claimant. Possibly, these matters should have been left to the office of the Administrator general because they are not that simple and in some cases could turn to real court cases.
The issue of non nationals of Uganda should be left to the Embassies/High Commissions concerned instead of the Government of Uganda getting involved as this is the role of these establishments and are better positioned to handle.
When it comes to a blanket compensation of shs 3,000,000 to all who sustained injuries due to the bombs, it is very unfair. The starting point should have been to assess how much damage each of the victims got, how much has been spent and also lost, and given the various extent of the damage; this should have been the basis to decide on compensation. It is not clear whether some victims are not still in hospital; this means a lot not only in expenditure to finance the treatment but also the lost income and the damage which may mean that the victim may never have got such damage that may never enjoy good living again.

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