Don’t politicise compensations – leaders tell Ayena

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KAMPALA.

Leaders in Lango sub-region have asked lawyer Krispus Ayena Odongo to desist from what they called playing politics as they push for compensation of war claimants.

“We all suffered for many years and now we are being fooled by a self-seeker (Ayena), who chose to represent Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony and his men instead of us. He is trying to confuse us with his political intentions to benefit from our loss,” the Otuke Member of Parliament, Mr Julius Achon, said.

Mr Ayena is the lawyer for former LRA commander Dominic Ongwen in an ongoing case at The Hague based International Criminal Court.

The leaders poured out their frustrations during a crisis meeting held in Kampala last Friday with the political and cultural institutions leaders and legal representatives of war claimants.

Last week, sections for the media reported that lawyers of Ayena Odongo & Company Advocates, and Bashasha & Company Advocates were fighting for compensation money for war claimants in Lango.

It was alleged that the war survivors had claimed billions of shillings for compensation of their lost pigs and chicken.

Lawyers from Bashasha & Co. Advocates are representing 63,000 war survivors who in 2001, sued the government over compensation of their livestock lost during the two-decade insurgency that claimed lives and property. However, Dr Richard Nam, the prime minister of the Lango cultural institution, described the media reports as ‘false and malicious’ aimed at setting up beneficiaries against their legal representatives.

Dr Nam said the claims for chicken and pigs as alleged are aimed at causing alarm without justification.

In addition, Col Johnson Ochola from Apac District, warned that any distorted information will cost the people of Lango who lost their property and lives during the war.

“This confusion could spark off another war. It is creating conspiracy element because some people have influence in the communities. However, this is not the first time is happening in our area,” Col Ochola said.

He added: “The compensation issue should not be mixed with tribal or any other personal dispute.”

Ms Linda Auma, one of the claimants said: “Some of the claimants lost their parents who were beneficiaries. Even at the time of the ongoing case in court, other people have died but that does not mean that their claim will also die.”

Mr Ayena surprised
However, in a telephone interview with Daily Monitor, Mr Ayena said he was surprised by the accusations made by people he was trying to help.

Mr Alex Bashasha, a lawyer for the claimants, declined to comment on the matter, saying he had already sued Mr Ayena for defamation and touting which case is still pending before court. “We do not handle our matters through the press like others,” he said.

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