Oil refinery Project-Affected Persons (PAPs) have written to Dr. Flavian Zeija, The Principal Judge, High Court of Uganda, informing him of their planned protest on 21st February 2023 p at the Kampala High Court to show dissatisfaction with Uganda’s judiciary for the delay in deciding Civil Suit No. 059 of 2021.
The protestors will be 20 women and 10 children representing 7,118 oil refinery-affected people of Kabaale parish, Buseruka sub county, Hoima district. According to the letter to the Principal Judge, they will travel from Hoima and camp at the Kampala High Court until they get assurance 'that the High Court will stop facilitating injustice against us.'
"It is our humble plea that our case is heard and determined as a matter of urgency. The High Court, through delays, has denied us justice for nearly nine years and this has caused untold suffering to our families and children and has left us a broken and destitute society. We want justice now. We cannot wait any longer."
The affected PAPs, with support from Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO), in March 2014, filed a case under Article 50 of the 1995 Uganda Constitution seeking redress over the violation of their constitutional rights including the right to receive prompt, fair, and adequate compensation before the acquisition or possession of their land.
"At the time of filing of our court case in 2014, the government had embarked on acquiring our land in Hoima district, Buseruka sub-county, Kabaale parish. The land acquisition process commenced in 2012 and the affected households were 1,221 with 7,118 people. Of these, 3,514 were women and 1,344 were children under five (5). In addition, 181 were elderly among others,”
“Government, through the 2012 Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) for the oil refinery project and through several meetings with the project-affected people (PAPs), committed to paying us and all the affected people promptly, fairly, and adequately in conformity with the 1995 Uganda Constitution. However, the government through the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD) failed to adhere to the commitments,”
“This was true so much so that when the Auditor General (AG) undertook a Value for Money audit of the oil refinery project in 2017, he concluded that the government had failed to pay prompt, fair, and adequate compensation to the PAPs,”
“The AG noted as follows in the 2017 annual report for the Office of the Auditor General, “There are concerns that the eight months’ compensation project which began on June 13, 2013, and was expected to have ended by February 13, 2014, is still far from completion with significant delays in compensation of over four (4) years.” Furthermore, the AG noted that 96% of the oil refinery PAPs were paid outside of the above-mentioned prescribed timeframe,”
“We the PAPs who sued the government are among the 96% who suffered delayed compensation. Notably, these delays in compensation went on until early 2018 when some of us received our compensation,”
“The AG also noted, “Unapproved rates were used for the compensation of almost all PAPs,”
“Whereas compensation commenced in FY 2013/14, the rates used were for the FY 2011/2012 which were unapproved and obsolete.” This resulted in under-compensation; even the PAPs compensated in 2018, including those who are party to the suit, were compensated using the obsolete rates,”
“The delays in compensation also resulted in unfair compensation which saw many PAPs, including those of us who are party to the said suit, failing to replace all the land we lost to the government. Many of us were only able to buy small plots of land that are infertile because these are what we could afford. This has affected our farming and family incomes, causing poverty,”
“When we filed our court case, we had hoped that the honorable court would expeditiously hear it to stop the injustices that government was perpetrating against us. Instead, the judiciary committed more injustices which continue to date. These injustices include: delays, changes in judges and transfer to different courts,”