East Africa: Case Against Pipeline Project Delays in Arusha

President Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania and President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda.

A case seeking to stop construction of the oil pipeline from Uganda to Tanzania for failing to conduct an environmental and social impact assessment has failed to take off even as the two countries proceed with implementation of the project.

In November last year, four non-governmental organisations moved to the East African Court of Justice to block the construction of the 1,445-kilometre pipeline which starts in Hoima in the Albertine Graben, western Uganda, and ends at Tanga port in Tanzania.

On April 11, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and his Tanzania counterpart President Samia Suluhu signed a deal for the $3.5 billion East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), now touted as a strategic win for Tanzania which will earn $12.7 off each barrel of oil transported through it.

The Centre for Food and Adequate Living Rights (CEFROHT) Ltd and the Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) both based in Kampala; Natural Justice-Kenya in Nairobi and the Center for Strategic Litigation based in Zanzibar, want the construction of the pipeline stopped until the matter is heard and determined.

The four NGOs claim the EACOP construction is yet to conduct an environmental and social impact assessment as required by both the EAC Treaty and other international laws.

In a case filed on November 6, 2020, the applicants are seeking orders against both Uganda and Tanzania ensures that, prior to any similar project, climate change impact assessment; human rights impact assessment; and meaningful, effective and transparent public consultations ensuring robust community and broad public participation must be conducted.

The NGOs are now seeking a permanent injunction against the republic of Uganda, Tanzania and the East African Community, whom they have sued, from constructing the pipeline through protected areas, among other orders.

The applicants argue that the pipeline to transport crude oil from an inlet flange at the Kabaale pumping station in Hoima District in Uganda to Chongoleani in Tanga, Tanzania contravenes the EAC Treaty and protocols that determine the undertaking of such a project.

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