Uganda: Oil Pipeline - Affected Communities Accuse Judiciary of Shelving 10 Year Compensation Case

10 March 2023
Nile Post News (Kampala)

Communities living in the areas affected by the oil exploration project including the pipeline have cried foul over the delay in having their case seeking compensation filed over 10 years ago.

Through their representatives, the affected persons said government started by giving them only shs2.1 million per acre before it was increased to shs3.5 million which they say was still too little compared to between shs15 million and shs21 million for which each acre is valued at in the area.

Dickens Kamugisha, the Chief Executive Officer of Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO), several cases have been filed by the affected communities but noted they have not been prioritized.

"They filed a case in the high court of Uganda in 2012 and up to now, that case has never been heard and completed. It started in Kampala High Court, pushed to Masindi High Court and now it is in Hoima High Court and we are now with the seventh judge,"Kamugisha said.

He noted that in 2019, the group filed another case in the High Court challenging the environmental and social impact assessment issued by NEMA to the Tilenga project but said this has not been determined yet the project has already kicked off.

Kamugisha said they were shocked when judiciary in six months gave a ruling in favour of government in 2020 in a case against the communities affected by the project that had refused to take the meagre compensation.

"The court allowed government to deposit the compensation in court and proceed to evict the communities and this was done in record time yet the earlier cases filed by communities have never been heard,"Kamugisha said.

John Tundulu, one of the oil project affected persons in Buliisa said they are not against the project but rather not satisfied with the amount of money paid to them in compensation by government.

"The money they are giving us cannot buy land somewhere else unless you squeeze yourself in other ways. We have nowhere to dig, our children are not schooling because the land was taken," Tundulu.

"We are not sabotaging government programs as they claim but we want our rights to be respected. Can you imagine the government valued a mature pineapple at sh100?"

The group however told journalists that they have given judiciary one month to determine their cases or else they will walk from their villages to the Justice Minister, Chief Justice and IGG among other authorities in protest.

However, the judiciary spokesperson, Jamson Karemani advised the group to file a formal complaint to have their grievances addressed.

"If they formally wrote a complaint, they need to follow it up to know where it is and know the reasons for the delays. We act neutral and once we come to know of those specific cases we shall pick interest to know if they are indeed delayed and the reason for the delay. We will also try to find a solution for them," Karemani said.

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