Compensation claims for livestock grabbed by President Yoweri Museveni’s National Resistance Army fighters soon after they took power in 1986 has pushed the amount of money the Uganda government could potentially pay out in court awards to Ush4.2 trillion ($1.43 billion), more than a quarter of the national budget, an investigation by this newspaper can reveal.
Of the figure, about Ush3.6 trillion ($1.22 billion) is potentially compensation for livestock grabbed by the victorious army in the north, east and north-east of the country.
Documents seen by The EastAfrican show that the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs has notified the Treasury of the figure as contingent liability for ongoing civil litigation against the government.
Some of the cases have been decided in favour of litigants and are awaiting the outcome of government appeals, while others are estimated costs of the lawsuits and compensation demanded. While the actual figure could be significantly lower, it could also be higher, depending on the decision of the courts in each case.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Keith Muhakanizi, who is also the Secretary to the Treasury, has raised a red flag over the size of the potential claims.