Ugandan gov’t accused of violating resettlement plan in oil refinery areas

UGANDA-OIL/

The African Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO), a civil society organisation on the rights of people affected by oil activities, is accusing the Ugandan government of violating the 2012 Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) for persons affected by the Oil refinery project in Hoima district.

The plan is a detailed framework of how the affected persons would be compensated or relocated from the 29 square kilometer piece of land earmarked for the oil refinery.

It was developed following a social economic baseline survey conducted Strategic Friends International, a Research and Consultancy firm.

Last week, government announced that only 46 houses will be constructed for the 93 households that chose relocation to Kyakaboga village. Francis Elungati, a Lands Officer in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development said government principle only compensates land for land and house for house.

He added that only those families who lost land will get land and those who lost houses in the refinery area will get new houses in Kyakaboga. Those who lost land will only receive land but build houses for themselves.

But Dickens Kamugisha the Executive Director of African Institute for Energy Governance says the decision contradicts the outlined plan to build a house and provide a piece of land for each family that chose relocation.

He says the latest notice is a disgrace to families that have endured misery over the last three years while awaiting relocation.

According to the resettlement plan, the area will have a school, two churches, eleven commercial plots, a community center, roads, a health center III, water sources and a cemetery among other facilities.

But the people affected by the project are questioning the viability of burying their relatives in a cemetery.

Innocent Tumwebaze, the Vice Chairman of the Proposed Oil Refinery Residents Association (PORRA) says the latest developments have turned them into refugees on their own land.

He adds that culturally it’s improper to burry a relative in a cemetery when one has a home and lives on his own land.

The oil refinery facility is meant to refine crude oil now being drilled in the Albertine Grabben into finished petroleum products. Over 7,118 residents in 13 villages were affected by this project. Majority of the persons affected by the project have since left the area after receiving cash compensation.