Six Years Later, Oil Refinery Affected People Awaits For Relocation

Uganda is looking at building a refinery in Bunyoro INTERNET PHOTO Uganda is looking at building a refinery in Bunyoro

By George Busiinge

The people affected by the construction of refinery in Buseruka Sub County, Hoima district are cursing government for delaying to relocate them, years after surrendering their land for the refinery development.

Government earmarked a 29square kilometer piece of land in Kabaale parish to host the oil refinery which will process the country’s crude oil, and partly gas, into finished petroleum products. This has seen 7118 residents from 13 villages facing displacement from their ancestral land to pave way for the project.

Since 2012 when government started the process of acquiring the land 98% of affected people have been compensated leaving 2% and 83 families that opted for relocation awaiting their turn. The 2% went to court protesting unfair compensation. 83 households opted for resettlement and government is currently constricting settlement houses in Kyakaboga village Buserukasub-county.

However the unfortunate part of it is that government has only constructed 46 resettlement houses leaving out the 37 families on grounds that they had no houses on their land. The 37 families have for several occasions protested the government decision saying government promised to construct houses for all the people who opted for relation.

After getting information that government was planning to relocate their colleagues in Kyakaboga, the victims last month set up grass thatched houses in the same area .However, two weeks ago, unknown people set the grass thatched structures ablaze.

The affected residents suspect that government is behind the arson attack. Abeni Tugarukyeyo one of the affected persons described the act of government as violation of human lights. He noted that government allocated them land but they have no money to build standard houses adding the only option they have is to establish grass thatched houses.

The residents vowed to reconstruct grass thatched houses, should government completely refuse to construct for them houses. Tumwebaze Burandina a mother of four and Christine AKurata mother of six are regretting why she opted for relocation.They are uncertain of where to shelter their children since government has refused to construct them house. The residents complain of isolation in an area that has now overgrown into a bush, lack of food, as they can’t grow anything sincegovernment stopped them from carrying out any development in the refinery land.

They are also facing a challenge of lack of access to social services because access roads and pathways have died out. They also complain of wild and domestic animals like baboons and cows which destroying the small gardens they have.

They said that their children are no longer going to school because all these school in the area such as Kyapuloni primary school, are no longer operating since majority of people left the area.

Dickens Kamugisha the executive director Africa Institute for Energy Governance AFIEGO nongovernmental organization that has been fighting for these people castigated government for failing to implement the agreement it made with the people during resettlement action plan.

He noted that the affected people went court in 2012 seeking for justice over unfair treatment and compensation but so far three judges have withdrawn for the case over lame excuse. However the court case has been dragging on with no positive outcome. Last week on 06 March the hearing of the case flopped after the presiding Justice Eva Luswata of the land division failed to appear.

The Independent Magazine reports that the lawyer representing the 89 allegedly displaced people were informed that the case has been rescheduled to a date yet to be confirmed as the judge is away on annual leave.

The aggrieved argue that government has since 2012 deprived them from fully utilizing their property after the Resettlement Action Plan Report pronounced that any development on the affected land after June 01 , 2012 would not be redeemed .

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