UHRC, Energy Ministry to Meet Refinery Affected Persons

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In short
Francis Elungant, an official from the Energy and Mineral Development Ministry says, whereas government had considered looking for land on a case by case basis for the oil refinery affected persons, the plan changed when the number of those who opted for relocation increased from 27 in 2012 to 93 currently.

The Energy and Mineral Development Ministry has explained why it decided to resettle the 93 families affected by the proposed oil refinery construction in Hoima district in special settlements as opposed to securing land for individual families. 



The 93 families from Kabaale and Buseruka sub counties opted for resettlement as opposed to receiving compensation money. At least 7000 people have been displaced by the project. In the 2012 Resettlement Action plan, government committed to avoid putting the affected persons in special settlements. 



However in 2015, government decided to put up a special settlement for the affected people in Kyakagoba in Hoima district. The move drew angry reactions from the affected persons, with some of them threatening not to vacate their land. Christopher Opio, one of the affected persons from Buseruka Sub County says that they were notified in 2015 that government had decided to construct 46 houses in a special settlement in breach of its earlier commitment to secure land for individual families. 



He says the move will hinder their businesses and involvement in agriculture. Opio says although he isn't opposed to the relocation, the ministry is providing him farm land that is distant from the settlement. Richard Oredi, a representative of the affected people, says most people are considering boycotting the settlements. 



But Francis Elungant, an official from the Energy and Mineral Development Ministry says, whereas government had considered looking for land on a case by case basis for the oil refinery affected persons, the plan changed when the number of those who opted for relocation increased from 27 in 2012 to 93 currently.
 
 
He says it is difficult to consider individual by individual case because of the huge number of people involved. Elugant says the settlements are being erected in accordance with the physical plan for the Albertine Graben and Vision 2040. He says resettling the affected communities in one settlement will ensure that they can easily access government services and utilities like power.



Officials from the Energy and Mineral Development Ministry and Uganda Human Rights Commissions are expected to meet the affected community within two weeks' time to resolve the matter. Med Kaggwa, the chairperson of Uganda Human Rights Commission, says the conflict between Government and the affected residents has taken long, adding that it needs to be resolved by on site. 




On Tuesday, the leaders of the affected people accompanied by a team from the African Institute for Energy Governance-AFIEGO, a civil society group, met officials from Uganda Human Rights Commission. 

 

About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.