Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013
The community of Kabaale, Buseruka-Hoima District, did write a petition to the Hon. Speaker Kadaga in regards to the oil refinery that is to be constructed within their area. See full petition below.
RT. Hon. Rebbeca Kadaga,
The Speaker of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda
Re: A Petition by the Communities Affected by the Proposed Oil Refinery in Kabaale, Buseruka-Hoima District
YOUR RT. HON. SPEAKER, we wish to thank you for giving us an opportunity to meet you. We also thank you for the great leadership you have provided and continue to provide since the inauguration of the 9th Parliament. As citizens, we are proud of your service and we pledge our continued support. We also recognize that under your able leadership, parliament has been able to enact many laws including the two new petroleum legislation which, if well implemented, will go a long way to ensure that all Ugandans -especially the host communities like us- benefit from the exploitation of the oil resource.
The proposed oil refinery:
The government through the ministry of energy and mineral development is currently in our parish of Kabaale demarcating boundaries of 29sq km of land. Each of the petitioners has had their land affected by these boundaries- Land on which we have lived for decades with our homes, gardens, cows, goats, sheep- The very essence of our livelihoods.. We were born here and this is the only place we know as home.
1. While we support the refinery project, we are concerned about the manner in which the government is implementing the project. The objective of this petition is to present to you the challenges and problems we are facing as a result of the government’s failure to follow the national laws and respect our rights as the project affected communities. We therefore request and hope that you will use your powers as parliament to urgently intervene to stop the violation of our rights highlighted below.
2. THIS PETITION is a product of many meetings and hearings that were conducted in all the 13 villages of Kabaale where we discussed the challenges created by the proposed project and resolved to petition your office. The meetings and hearings were facilitated by our two main partners; Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) and the Navigators of Development Association (NAVODA).
3. WE APPRECIATE the ongoing government’s efforts to build an oil refinery in Uganda. This presents a tremendous opportunity for the country to develop and improve our living standards. Oil will generate the necessary revenues which, if well utilized, will enable the government to provide much needed social and economic services such as employment, quality health and education, clean water, good roads and many other amenities to improve the living standards of Ugandans.
7. GOVERNMENT SHOULD RECOGNIZE that the people of Bunyoro, including us in Kabaale parish, suffered a lot at the hands of colonialists. They killed, tortured, displaced our ancestors and gave away most of our land. The effects have kept us poor until this day. We request that parliament ensures that government manages the oil and other sectors in a transparent manner to stop the current miserable conditions we live in and bring prosperity and wealth to our communities.
We are law abiding citizens. We are aware that Article 26 of the Constitution, together with other enabling laws including the Land Act and the Land Acquisition Act, clearly provide for the protection of our right to property, such property can only be taken away by the government/local government for national development after meeting the requisite procedure.
Specifically, we observe and bring the following to your attention:
Damages to gardens: During the opening of boundaries, the officers damaged some PAPs’ crops but this has never been compensated for. There is no hope that PAPs will receive this compensation as it was never recorded.
Lack of participatory Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA): While the resettlement and compensation exercise is going on, we the affected people have never seen any government agency (including National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA)) consulting on issues of environment. As a result, we don’t know what may happen to us, our children, our cows, our goats, our gardens or the spirits of our exhumed forefathers and mothers. The government is concerned with economic effects through feasibility studies and Resettlement Action Plans (RAP) but has ignored issues that matter to our very live
IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE CONCERNS, Rt. Hon. Speaker, we the affected people, through this petition, take this opportunity to ask you to do the following for us:
(a) the time frame within which the compensation should be paid after the assessment,
(b) protection of the property owner to enjoy his/her property without any interference until he/she is fully compensated,
(c) a right of the affected person to decide where he or she should be resettled,
(d) a right of the affected person to be given accurate and timely information regarding the project,
(e) Penal sanctions for a developer who gives wrong and misleading information to the affected person,
(f) Mandatory negotiation and agreements between developers and affected persons before any land can be compulsorily acquired.
2.Make a law that gives an affected person an option of leasing land and repossessing it after the completion of the project.
3.Take the advantage of the Public Finance Bill 2012 currently before your Parliament to provide for a share of 5% royalty to the land owners affected by the oil activities.
4.Ensure compulsory EIAs that compare the environmental effects of the affected areas with the ones where the affected people are to be resettled.
5.Develop a formula for calculating a fair and adequate compensation under Article 26 of the Constitution.
6.Investigate the actions of the government officials who are handling the assessment and evaluation of the PAPs’ property with a view of bringing them to justice where they have violated our rights.
Once again, we all support the refinery project but all we want is for the developers to stop violating our rights. We pray that you will use your good office to urgently address the injustices being meted on us by the developers. We Thank You.
For God and My Country.