Oil & gas

Opinion: Museveni Should Prioritize Refinery-affected Families

Author: 
Doris Atwijukire

By Doris Atwijukire

Yesterday, seek http://coaststringfiddlers.com/wp-admin/includes/list-table.php President Museveni sworn-in for his sixth term of office as thousands of Ugandan cheered on at Kololo Independence Ground.

Since President Museveni is expected to choose a new cabinet that would prioritize among others income generation to uplift Ugandans out of poverty, cialis 40mg http://celesteanddanielle.com/wp-content/plugins/google-analyticator/google-api-php-client/src/service/google_serviceresource.php we hope his government will take into consideration the plight of these vulnerable families in the oil refinery area of Kabaale, sickness Buseruka, Hoima district.

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These people are suffering and are in dire need, particularly the 38 families who opted for cash compensation together with the 93 families which opted for relocation.

For example last week two of the 93 who were waiting to be resettled lost their lives. Losing them was not a big issue because that is natural but most worrying was fail by the Kabaale residents to get where to bury them.

This came as a result of government’s decision to set   a cut-off date way back in 2012, stating that effective 2nd June 2012 nothing on the refinery land will be considered for compensation.

Therefore Kabaale residents feared that when they bury in the refinery land, soon or later, they will be forced to exhume the bodies to where government would relocate them without any government compensation (disturbance allowance).

At the end, the two bodies of Ongei Thowego and Muzinya Vincent were buried at their relative’s home in the refinery neighborhood. It should be noted that this has been the situation in Kabaale since 2012.

In 2012, the government of Uganda embarked on a project of acquiring over 29 sq km of community land from 13 villages of Kabaale parish, Buseruka sub-county, Hoima district for Uganda’s refinery.

The acquisition affected 1,221 households with a total population of 7,118 people. Of this population, 3,514 were women, 1,344 children and 181 elderly people.

Based on the government commitments made in the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) for the project, 93 households opted for relocation.

Among the commitments made in the RAP were: buying land on a case by case basis for each of the households which opted for relocation and giving a land title and a house to each of the households.

The other households totaling to 1,128 opted for cash compensation and they were entitled to receive cash for the total value of their property (within a period of six months) plus a disturbance allowance of 30% as compensation.

While government offered cash compensation to some refinery-affected families which opted for cash and has starting on constructing houses for those who opted for relocation, the exercise was marred by gross human rights violations including delayed and unfair and inadequate compensation.

For instance, government used 2010 compensation rates to value people property contrary to the Land Act and the Constitution.

Because of being offered low compensation that could not facilitate some refinery-affected families to return to their original positions of living, 38 refinery-affected families rejected the compensation.

For four years, the 38 households together with the 93 households which opted for relocation are still waiting for their compensation living in the area with no means of survival. They have no food, no schools and school fees for their children’s education, no clean water and many other basic needs of life. They hopelessly live in isolation.

Again there is a need by government to ensure that all the 93 families get houses and also renegotiate and pay the 38 households who rejected the inadequate compensation.

Government is currently constructing houses for only 46 families out of 93 refinery affected families who opted for relocation.

It is important to note that government is also failing to uphold the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) by not only failing to construct houses for all the 93 families that opted for relocation but by also constructing houses in a special settlement like camp in Kyakaboga village, Hoima district, which will grossly infringe on their rights.

Rights

Government is set to infringe on these rights by constructing houses without sufficient spacing between the different households and by failing to resettle each family on the total amount of land government owes that family; Houses are being constructed on 50 by 100 plots with the rest of their land being given to affected people elsewhere.

As agriculturalists, raising animals such as goats and chicken, these people require enough land to raise their animals for food and for sale to make a living.

Moreover, the government contractor is living too little space between their kitchens and pit latrines. The people right to decent shelter and health is set to be infringed on by this.

Since some of the houses being constructed are still at foundation level and others are yet to be constructed, people’s lifestyle should be taken into consideration. The refinery affected people should be fully consulted and included in decision making of what is best for them.

Government should divide the land it bought and give each of affected family land and not a 50 X 100 plot for their land with a house while the rest is elsewhere. They should be allowed to decide where on their land they want their houses, kitchens and pit latrines located.  Government should not force them to live near each other with their kitchens and pit latrines together.

Finally, President Museveni and his  new government should give each of the affected household a house as committed to in the RAP particularly those who opted for relocation, renegotiate with the 38 people who opted for cash and relocate and compensate these people in less than  six months as matter of urgency.

Doris Atwijukire

datwijukire@afiego.org

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