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Oil Pipeline Affected Persons Petition Total over Intimidation, Compensation

The 1,443km East African Crude Oil Pipeline will transport Uganda’s crude oil from Hoima in Uganda to the Chongoleani peninsula near Tanga port in Tanzania. It is envisaged to be the longest electrically heated pipeline in the world, crossing through 10 districts in Uganda, a distance of 296 kilometres and 25 districts in Tanzania, covering eight regions.
Yisito Kayinga Muddu, the Coordinator- Community Transformation Foundation Network (COTFONE), explaining the why they petitioned Total.

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More than 1,000 people affected by the East African Crude Oil Pipeline in Kyotera and Lwengo districts have petitioned Total Energies E&P Uganda, for an intervention to address grievances stemming from the land acquisition process.

The 1,443km East African Crude Oil Pipeline will transport Uganda’s crude oil from Hoima in Uganda to the Chongoleani peninsula near Tanga port in Tanzania. It is envisaged to be the longest electrically heated pipeline in the world, crossing through 10 districts in Uganda, a distance of 296 kilometres and 25 districts in Tanzania, covering eight regions. 

According to the agreed plan, it will start close to Lake Albert in Hoima through Kikuube, Kakumiro, Kyankwanzi, Mubende, Gomba, Sembabule, Lwengo, Kyotera and Rakai and cross the Tanzania border between Masaka and Bukoba, and traverse Tanzania through Kahama, Singida, Kondoa, into Tanga. 

But the persons affected by the project are still aggrieved and are now seeking to resolve all challenges they have faced since the compulsory land acquisition process started in the two districts. 

Together with the Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) and Community Transformation Foundation Network (COTFONE), the Project affected persons are asking Total and other government entities to pay for the economic losses incurred due to the cutoff date that was placed on people’s property in 2018.

They argue that they were promised that immediate compensation and as such, put on hold, all their planned activities which included planting coffee and other perennial crops on the same land. According to Yisito Kayinga Muddu, the Coordinator –COTFONE, the purpose of the petition is to ask Total to reassess the affected property in the oil pipeline route and compensate the PAPs based on the current rates. 

//Cue in; “This petition…

Cue out…rates by then.”// 

Muddu explains they want a new independent and elective grievance handling committee to receive and resolve the PAPs’ complaints. He adds that the handling mechanism put in place by Total Energies is inadequate and the Grievance Redress Committees that were set up to assist the PAPs, do not have the capacity to perform the intended functions.

//Cue in; “Thirdly to request…

Cue out…water sources.”// 

Although Total maintains that they welcome grievances to be resolved, Muddu noted that when the PAPs are always intimidated by the sub-contractors-New Plan Ltd, and many of them have not been able to raise their concerns over unfair compensation. 

He cited an incident where Robert Birimuye, one of the PAPs from Kyotera, who has been vocal in demanding fair and adequate compensation, was arrested by police in Kyotera on October 22, 2021, and charged with sabotaging government programmes. 

//Cue in: “Civil Society Organisations…

Cue out…constitution of 1995.”// 

Jeremy Roeygens, the Land and Social Affairs Manager for the EACOP project, has acknowledged receipt of the petition and assured petitioners that the concerns will be adequately handled for the successful pipeline processes.