People affected by the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOPE)
project in Kyotera District have protested the arrest of their leader.
Richard Birimuye Ssekyondwa was arrested on Friday on the orders
of the District Police Commander-Hassan Hiwumbire, for allegedly sabotaging
government projects. His arrest comes at the time when several PAPs are
protesting irregularities and human rights violations surrounding the oil
On Thursday, the Project Affected Persons-PAPs disregarded the
Bank Account Opening conducted by Centenary Bank. Led by
Ssekyondwa, the PAPs refused to sign the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) forms
and snubbed the account opening process until the Chief Government Valuer and
the District leaders intervene to address their compensation concerns.
Total Uganda entered a partnership with Centenary Bank to help the
PAPs open up accounts through, which they would receive their compensation.
But Patrick Kintu Kisekulo, the Kyotera LCV Chairperson and other
local leaders rallied the PAPs not to open the accounts before the compensation
issues are resolved. However, the PAPs and different Civil Society
Organisations want an explanation why Ssekyondwa was arrested in addition to
demanding his immediate release.
According to Ssekyondwa, his arrest will not derail his efforts to
pursue fair compensation rates and protect the right of the PAPs. He
further declined to make a statement in absence of his lawyer.
According to Yisito Muddu Kayinga, Coordinator – Community
Transformation Foundation Network, they will work together with other CSOs to
//Cue in: “Nga abalwanirizi…
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He appealed to the Uganda Human Rights Commission to intervene in the
matter since it has been documenting different queries raised by the PAPs.
//Cue in “Awo wagulu…
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But Muhammad Nsubuga, the Southern Regional Police spokesperson,
Ssekyondwa was arrested for sabotaging the Parish model program. He adds
that Ssekyondwa blocked Hajji Moses Ddumba, the Kyotera Resident District
Commissioner, and his team from sensitizing Nakatoogo residents about the program.
He alleges that Ssekyondwa incited residents to boycott the
On Thursday, the District Security Committees and District Land
board Officials from Lwengo, Rakai, Sembaule and Kyotera met in Masaka City to
iron out the longstanding queries surrounding the compensation of the PAPs.
Human rights violations and intimidation of the PAPs were among
the concerns in addition to the valuation inconsistencies and poor information