Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A storm is brewing in over a name adopted for the Total’s oil northern Albertine Graben project located in Buliisa and Nwoya district. Total Exploration Uganda faces off with local opponents angered over the project name Tilenga.
The name Tilenga is derived from two local names for the Uganda Kob (Antelope) which is called “Til” in Acholi and “Engabi” in Runyoro-Rutoro. But the Bagungu majority tribe in Buliisa are up in arms against the project name saying it should be renamed Bugungu instead of Tilenga.
Buliisa County MP, Stephen Mukitale Biraahwa sparked off the controversy as public hearings into Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) report for the Tilenga oil project kicked off in Buliisa this week.
Bagungu Community Association Chairperson, Dr. Enoch Bigirwa disagreed with the assertion that Engabi is a Lugungu name for the Antelope.
State Minister for Minerals, Peter Lokeris said it is possible that Total and his Ministry would reconsider the name of the project if the locals in the project area felt that it needs to be changed.
Total Exploration Uganda’s Social Affairs Officer, Marion Adengo Muyobo however warns that renaming the project Bugungu turn tribal given that the project is located in three areas occupied by the Banyoro, Acholi, Alur and the Bagungu.
She says there is need to have a joint meeting of the Kingdom of Bunyoro , Alur and Acholi if the project is to be renamed.
The Tilenga project includes jobi-Rii, Gunya, Ngiri, Kasemene, wahrindi, Nsoga, Kigogole oil fields in Buliisa and Nwoya districts.
Total Exploration Uganda plans to develop six oil fields once National Environment Management Authority approves Environmental and Social Impact Assessment as per section 22 of the National Environment impact Assessment regulations 1998 which requires public hearing into the assessment by the developer.
Tilenga and Kingfisher are projected to produce 200,000 and 40,000 barrels of crude oil per day respectively for the refinery and pipeline.