15 December 2012

Uganda: Coalition On Oil NGOs Vow to Fight On

President Yoweri Museveni vowed to resist any foreign interference in Uganda's oil sector. ( Resource: Uganda Focuses On Oil and Gas )

President Museveni may have talked tough accusing some MPs and civil society organizations of selling out to 'foreign interests' but the latter have come out to respond, saying they are determined to fight on, to ensure that all Ugandans benefit from the oil resources.

While appearing before the press on Dec. 14, Enoch Nimpamya, the alternate Chairperson of the Civil Society Coalition on Oil, a group of over 20 civil society organizations working in the area of oil and gas in the country said the oil resources are not for one person in Uganda, rather it is for all Ugandans.

As a result, the NGOs have vowed to continue sensitizing all Ugandans about the goings-on in the oil and gas sector.

Irene Sekyaana, the Chairperson of the CSCO reminded the Government saying that the 2008 National and Oil Gas Policy recognizes the important role of civil society in the oil and gas sector.

She also reiterated the fact that civil society organizations and Ugandans working with these organizations have vested interests in how the government conducts legislative business and how the oil resources will be governed.

"This is a legitimate interest that cannot be wished away by diversionary propaganda."

She added: "The proposition that civil society organizations are promoting the interests of foreigners assumes that we don't have our own interests, it is misleading and unwarranted."

Dickens Kamugisha, of the African Energy Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) noted that although the oil sector in the country is increasingly becoming difficult, fellow members of CSCO should prepare for the worst, including going to jail if they are to ensure that all Ugandans and not a handful of people benefit from the oil resources.

Winnie Ngabirwe, the head of Publish What You Pay, Uganda Chapter, another member NGO of CSCO said despite what the president said, the civil society organizations will not stop talking about what is happening in Uganda's nascent oil and gas sector.

"We are not going to stop... This is just the beginning and we shall go to all parts of Uganda sensitizing all Ugandans about oil because we want our oil to benefit all Ugandans," she said.

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