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Oil Pipeline Project Delays Spark Disputes, Child Neglect in Rakai, Kyotera

They say that families are breaking up and children neglected as parents remain incapable of taking care of them in the absence of compensation for their land and other properties. Disputes are escalating out of mistrust, as couples suspect each other of having received the money behind the others back.
Some of the people affected by the oil pipeline during a meeting at Rakai district headquarters

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Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and children rights activists in Rakai and Kyotera districts have decried the increasing domestic disputes among communities affected by the East African Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project.

They say that families are breaking up and children neglected as parents remain incapable of taking care of them in the absence of compensation for their land and other properties. Disputes are escalating out of mistrust, as couples suspect each other of having received the money behind the others back.

Yisito Muddu Kayinga, from the Community Transformation Foundation Network (COTFONE), says that so far more than five couples in Rakai, Kyotera and Lwengo districts have separated after arguments surrounding the delayed compensation.

//Cue in; “Family ebaamu omwami…

Cue out….zezo zemwaliliyilia.”// 

Kayinga says that gender issues were not given strict attention from the onset of the project adding that many of the project affected persons who separated between the time of the valuation and now, can hardly complain once one is left out. They are now frustrated.

//Cue in; “Kati bino byaava…

Cue out…obwo bwenkanya.”// 

Matilda Ndagano, the Rakai Pipeline Community-based Monitor from Global Rights Alert says that the majority of the affected persons are peasant farmers who had been stopped from cultivating the demarcated portions of their land, which affected their livelihoods. Consequently, men have resorted to alcohol abuse, battered their wives and mistreat their children.  

//Cue in; “Domestic violence has…

Cue out...managing the families.”//  

Ndagano adds that the disputes started during the distribution of consent forms and later escalated during the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic. She noted that the families have completely been neglected and several children chose to find a way to fend for themselves.  

//Cue in; “As they were promised…

Cue out….delayed compensation.”//  

Joseph Ssendagi, the Rakai District Probation and Social Welfare Officer confirmed the escalating cases of domestic violence in the district saying that these were sparked off different issues including land, alcohol abuse and others. He adds that the cases have increased since 2019 in which wives have been battered, children mistreated in addition to child pregnancies and forced marriages. 

//Cue in; “In the first quarter… 

Cue out….forced marriages.”// 

Esther Mugarura, the Rakai Secretary for Health and Community Service says that they have started community sensitisation against domestic violence for the good of the couples and the children, whose future and psychological future is compromised by such domestic disputes.

//Cue in; “Bikosa obwongo bwabaana…

Cue out…..okukola mu maka ge.”// 

Susan Nakawojwa, the Kyotera Probation Officer, says they were left out of the EACOP project whereby many issues involving children and their parents and guardians were not put into consideration.   She says domestic violence arising from the pipeline project has greatly hurt several families hence leaving families torn apart.

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