Oil Refinery affected persons vow to continue pressing government over relocation promises

The State Minister for Energy and Mineral Development Engineer Simon D’ujanga on August 10, 2017, pressed ahead with officially commissioning the houses that government of Uganda constructed for the oil refinery affected residents in Hoima District even as majority of the beneficiaries shunned the function. The houses are in Kyakaboga village, Nyakabingo Parish Buseruka Sub County.

 Before commissioning the 46 houses, majority of the project affected persons (PAPs) had indicated that weren’t willing to relocate before particular provisions of the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) had been fully fulfilled.

Incomplete: Some of the houses constructed by government in Hoima District for the PAPs. The PAPs say the houses are incomplete and will not occupy them till governement completes them as has always promised

Incomplete: Some of the houses constructed by government in Kyakaboga village Hoima District for the PAPs. The PAPs say the houses are incomplete and will not occupy them till governement completes them as has always promised.

The PAPs, in the meeting held two days before the commissioning of the houses with the local leadership, Strategic Friends International , SFI (the contractor implementing the RAP report of the refinery project) and ministry of energy officials, had stressed that the constructed houses were still incomplete with no water and electricity supply, the individual land titles that government promised had not been provided and the roads leading to the constructed houses were in a poor state contrary to the provisions of the 2012 RAP report.

Another point of contention by the PAPs is that those who opted for relocation were 73 households but government had only constructed 46 houses, leaving the 27 households unaccounted for. Government opted to construct houses for only those that had houses in the refinery project area. Those that had land without houses therein were to be given land only, without houses, a thing the PAPs are vehemently protesting.
At the commissioning of the houses, only eight PAPs were present to receive keys for their houses. However, they didn’t not occupy the houses as they (PAPs) deemed them incomplete.

In his speech during the commissioning, Minister D’ujanga expressed government’s commitment of providing food for the PAPs for six months. He said PAPs would undergo basic training skills like modern Agriculture, tailoring in addition to other vocational skills at a free cost.

While appearing on Community Green Radio’s weekly show, Orukurato, on Friday 11, the leaders of the PAPs vowed never to accept what they described as lies by government through the ministry of energy and mineral development.

Christopher Opio, the secretary to the Oil Residents Refinery Association (ORRA), explained that they will not accept incomplete work and vowed to keep on the pressure.

“The people no longer trust government and the Ministry of Energy because it has broken its promises on several occasions. We are aware of the usual unending deadlines as regards fulfillment of the RAP report. We shall keep demanding until all what they (government) promised has been delivered”, Opio said.

Innocent Tumwebaze, the Vice Chairperson of Oil Residents Refinery Association (ORRA), explained how the assessment process left scars on the hearts of PAPs.

“Houses that would be found in an extended household would be attributed to the head of the family which in the end affected many people. People who had land in different villages were affected because the assessors would come on a single day”, Tumwebaze explained.

NAPE has been working with PAPs to ensure that their rights are fully respected throughout the resettlement exercise. Through the NAPE Sustainability school Programme, communities have been helped to build confidence and demand for their rights. Community Green radio has been and is still a voice of the PAPs in pursuit for justice and accountability in natural resources governance.

By Julius Kyamanywa