14TH MAY 2013
The Chairman L C 5,
Hoima District, Local Government,
Dear Mr. George T. Bagonza,
Re: A Petition by the Communities Affected by the Proposed Oil Refinery Project in Kabaale, Buseruka-Hoima District
1. Dear Chairman, we wish to thank you for giving us an opportunity to meet and present our petition to you. We also thank you for the great leadership you have continued to provide to our district. We recognize that under your able leadership, the government through the ministry of energy has progressed well with the development of oil and other natural resources. We are happy that you have worked with the central government to bring the oil refinery to our district and specifically, our parish of Kabaale.
2. The proposed oil refinery: WE APPRECIATE AND SUPPORT the ongoing government’s efforts to build an oil refinery in our parish of Kabaale, Buseruka sub county, Hoima district. The refinery has the potential to add value on the country’s crude oil to generate more revenues which, if well utilized, will enable the government to provide the 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.
3. However, it should be noted that the development of the proposed oil refinery has seen all our land get captured in the demarcated 29sq km of land. This is our only land on which we have lived for decades with our families, gardens, cows, goats, sheep and others. It is our only survival and therefore our life. If it is taken away from us without adequate compensation and agreeable resettlement, we shall die.
4. So, while we support the refinery project, we are concerned about the absence of clear set compensation rates and regulations to guide the compensation and resettlement regarding the people affected by the proposed refinery. We are also concerned with the manner in which the project developers are taking advantage of the legal vacuum to exploit us.
5. The main objective of this petition is to present to you the injustices we are facing as a result of the district’s failure to consult us and put up to date compensation rates in place as provided for in section 59(1) (e) and (f).
6. THIS PETITION is a product of various meetings and hearings that were conducted in all the 13 villages of Kabaale where we discussed the challenges created by the proposed oil refinery.
Specifically, we bring the following concerns to your attention:
7. Lack of up to date compensation rates: Hoima district through the District Land Board is required under the Land Act Cap 227 section 59 (1) (e) to compile and maintain a list of rates of compensation payable in respect of crops, buildings of nonpermanent nature and any other thing that may be prescribed, and (f) review every year the list of rates of compensation but since commencement of the refinery process we have never seen any consultations on the rates or the list of rates. Under sub section 6 of section 59 above, “each district council shall have a district land office comprising among other officers; a district land officer, a valuer and surveyor” However, we are concerned that all these offices have not come to our rescue especially to guide us on our property rights. Instead, we are told to wait endlessly for the decision of the Chief Government Valuer who has no idea about the values of our property.
The above district’s failure has contributed to the following problems:
8. Violation of the our Constitution right to adequate and timely compensation: Article 26 of the Constitution of Uganda provides that: (1) Every person has a right to own property, and (2) No person shall be compulsorily deprived of property or any interest in or right over property of any description except where the following conditions are satisfied (a) the taking of possession or acquisition is necessary for public use, (b) the compulsory taking of possession or acquisition of property is made under a law which makes provision for prompt payment of fair and adequate compensation, prior to the taking of possession or acquisition of the property, and a right of access to a court of law by any person who has an interest or right over the property. Unfortunately, a decade has passed a no law is in place to ensure that affected people get prompt payment of fair and adequate compensation. As a result, we live at the discretion mercy of the developers. This is injustice, degrading and inhumane. This constitutional provision has been fundamentally abused by the government officials. They dictate and pay unfair compensation, they stop us from using our property before compensation and we cannot access courts of law because of high costs and distances as well as poverty in our communities. All these are violations to our rights.
9. IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE CONCERNS, Mr. Chairman, through this petition, we request you to do the following for us:
a. Consult us and put in place up to date a list of rates of compensation regarding our crops and Nonpermanent buildings, and distribute copies of the rates to us.
b. Ask the minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development to put in place the regulations for assessment and payment of compensation as required by section 20 of the Land Acquisition Act, Cap 226 of 1965. In the regulations, ask them to provide for the following:
c. Set a time frame within which the compensation should be paid after the assessment,
d. Protection of the property owner to enjoy his/her property without any interference until he/she is fully compensated,
e. A right of the affected person to decide where he or she should be resettled after displacement,
f. A right of the affected person to be given accurate and timely information regarding the amount of compensation,
g. An option to lease the land by the affected person and repossessing it after project exhaustion.
h. Establish a Compensation and Resettlement Appeals Tribunal (CRAT) headed by a justice of the High Court to ensure access to affordable justice to the affected people.
Once again, we thank you for accepting to meet and receive our petition. We pray that you will address our concerns with the utmost urgency. We Thank You.
For God and My Country