30 years after retirement from Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), Zaidi Bafonza abandoned his children a month ago.
The 54-year old former soldier who retired in 1992 abandoned his eight children in a makeshift house in Bukolooto trading centre in Kayunga District on claims that he had failed to get his gratuity.
Bagonza said he got frustrated from making futile attempts to get his retirement package at Bombo army headquarters, and decided to go to Busoga area to look for odd jobs.
“Since 1992 when I retired, I only received USh5 million ($1,452), which I used to buy that plot where I constructed a makeshift shelter where my children are now living,” Bagonza said.
“I don’t deserve this humiliation after serving my country for years during which time I sustained life threatening injuries. I can’t stay at home and watch my children suffer. When I get money I will come back,” he said.
He left his children under the guidance of their 16-year-old sister. The youngest of the children is 4 years old.
“I do odd jobs to get food for my siblings, we no longer go to school,” she said adding that their makeshift house leaks whenever it rains.
She said that sometimes they sleep on empty stomachs and lack basic necessities like bedding.
The whereabouts of their mother was unknown since her separation with their father.
The Kayunga Town mayor, Magid Nyanzi, blamed the former soldier for abandoning his children and advised him to return and fend for his family.
“Running away is not the solution to the problem,” the Kayunga Town mayor, Magid Nyanzi said.
Cases of child abandonment were on the increase in the area, Hellen Alikoba, the Kayunga police officer in-charge of children and family protection said.