Government urged to send help to second world war veteran

93-year-old Sowedi Kirya is a resident of Bugumya village, Mayuge district where he has lived since September 1945, married his three wives, had 20 children and buried half of them. He was given a total sum of Shs150,000 after the war, but 77 years later his living condition is a sad sight and residents have asked government to come to his rescue.

Government urged to send help to second world war veteran

Upon his return from the war, Kirya acquired land in Mayuge and married his first wife, Fatuma Nabudo. It remains unclear how Kirya fell on the financial troubles, and he was unwilling to divulge details when he was approached by local media, but he has to go without food most of the time.

"Sometimes I am forced to sleep without having a meal,” he said.

According to his neighbours, Kirya is a dedicated attendee at all security forces events and occasionally wears his veteran uniform and displays his gun.

“Every national event, Mr Kirya will never miss to attend where he joins the parade to march with the UPDF, Police, and Prisons. This signals that he liked his job,” said Moses Mbulamuko, one of his neighbours.

They have asked government to support the veteran to raise his standard of living because of his contribution to the country and patriotism.

“He is a humble and polite old man with no bad record. He should be rewarded and supported both financially and with basic needs. He sometimes wears his uniform and displays the gun that he used during the war,” said another neighbour, 73-year-old Bulaimu Waliwonaki.

According to Mbulamuko, despite being conscripted into the army an the early age of 11 years, something which was illegal but was practiced by the Gombolola chiefs who “handpicked the youth to forcibly join the army," Kirya grew to love the part he played in the second world war.

Kirya noted that he attends some of the national events with hope of being recognised and receiving help but he ends up getting crumbs that barely help him.

“Sometimes I attempt to utilise these national events to attract the President’s attention so that he could offer some support, but in some cases I am only given a small token as transport facilitation which cannot even clear some of the outstanding demands,” he said.

His two-roomed house is in a deplorable state that threatens to topple with each heavy downpour.

“Thousands of people sacrificed themselves to defend a distant land, an unknown land, a land they had until then never trod, a land they have forever marked with their blood,” he said about the war.

Two of his wives, Fatuma Nabudo and Amina Ganza live in Bugumya village, while the third, Maliyati Nawede, lives in Butebo with her son Twaha Kirya where Kirya was staying at the time of the interview.

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