Members of the Mubende-Banyoro United Association have petitioned the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga in regard to compensation over the land on which the crude oil pipeline will pass. The Secretary General of the Association, John Mande said that the residents were being compensated as Bibanja holders, yet they are the rightful land owners.
“The officials from the Ministry of Energy claim that they will compensate the residents as bibanja owners yet our forefathers were in Bugangaizi since time immemorial. We pray that we shall be compensated as the rightful owners that we are,” Mande said. He further added that land issues started as far back as the colonial times when the British wrongly demarcated the land and thisforcedthe natives to file a court case in the United Kingdom. Two years down the road, they are still waiting for the Attorney General’s guidance on this issue.
The petitioners were further concerned about the effects on the oil spillage on the surrounding environment, and the after effects 30years after the oil has been drained. The Minister of State for Energy and Mineral Development (Energy), Hon. Eng. Simon D’Ujanga, in response said that the Ministry had a provision to compensate the landowners as part of the plan.
“I would like to clarify that we do compensate both the bibanja land owners and the actual land owners although the compensation rates differ. We do have a challenge however, on who the rightful owners are. As a Ministry, we are ready to compensate, but who do we compensate?” he asked.
The Chairman of the Uganda Land Commission, BagumaIsoke, told the petitioners that the money for compensation was available and all that was required is a work map of the pipeline’s path. “We have Ushs15bn for compensation but we need a ground map of where the pipeline will pass. Once we get that, wewill make an overlay on the Mailo land. From this mapping we shall get the direction so that we compensate the historical land owners,” Isoke said.