Hoima, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | People affected by the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project in the Bunyoro sub-region are protesting delays by the government to compensate them for their land.
The 1,443km crude oil export pipeline will transport Uganda’s crude oil from Hoima in Uganda to the Chongoleani peninsula near Tanga port in Tanzania.
It is envisaged to be the longest electrically heated pipeline in the world and will cross through 10 districts in Uganda, a distance of 296 kilometers, and 25 districts in Tanzania, covering eight regions and 25 districts. The government rolled out the program of acquiring land for the project in August 2018.
According to the agreed plan, the pipeline route will begin from Hoima through Kikuube, Kakumiro, Kyankwanzi, Mubende, Gomba, Sembabule, Lwengo, Kyotera, and Rakai, and cross the Tanzania border between Masaka and Bukoba, and traverse Tanzania through Kahama, Singida, Kondoa, into Tanga.
However, since 2018, the government has not compensated the project-affected persons yet they stopped using their land. The Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) had also promised to start compensation in December 2020 or early January 2021.
Joseph Kyamanywa, a project-affected person in Buhirigi village in Bombo sub-county wonders why the government acquired their land but has failed to compensate them close to three years now.
Ndibanoha Kyamanywa, another project-affected person says that they could compel them to block the project if the government fails to expedite the compensation plan.
Stanley Ntagali, the former Archbishop of the Church of Uganda who is one of the project affected persons in Kidoma village, Kizirafumbi sub-county, Kikuube district explains that people are tired of the delays by the government to compensate them, adding that the community dialogues being conducted by the government without positive results regarding the compensation have always frustrated the PAPs.
Benson Chiche, the Hoima LCV Vice-chairperson says the delays caused by the government to compensate the EACOP PAPs have greatly disappointed them as leaders yet they convinced the residents to sign agreements with the government to use their land.
Peter Banura, the Kikuube LCV chairperson explains that delays have negatively impacted the PAPs’ livelihoods.
Ruth Nankabirwa, the Minister for Energy and Mineral Development admitted the delays to compensate the PAPs adding that they are doing all it takes to have the payment process expedited.