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  • Innocent-Tumwebaze-from-refinery-area-303x250

    Refinery residents unhappy with compensation process

    Innocent Tumwebaze claims he was attacked by security officials in Kitegwa village when they found him encouraging the villagers to stand up for their rights.

    The first phase of the ongoing implementation of the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) in Hoima District is facing resistance from some angry residents, with some of them threatening to take the government to court over unfair compensation of their property. They are also claiming that government agents are harassing them and coercing them into signing consent forms. Read More

  • Compensation of refinery residents commences

    Esther Igonja, of Congolese origin, has spent 50 of her 80 years in Kabaale Parish—but will now have to give way for the construction of the oil refinery. (Picture: FW)

    Implementation of the first phase of the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) kicked off early this month and will end with the 7,118 residents of the thirteen Hoima villages on whose land the oil refinery will be built being compensated for their property, or relocated.

    The seventy billion shillings project (about 27 million dollars) is being implemented by Strategic Friends International, a local consultancy firm. Read More

  • Florence Akumu used the money to feed her five children for about five months.

    Compensation brings temporary excitement to Buliisa locals

     OGWENDO SUB-COUNTY, BULIISA DISTRICT: Located about 16 kilometres from Buliisa town, this quiet agricultural village is dotted with small mud houses, most of them roofed with shiny aluminium sheets.

    There is a stark contrast between the greyish, peeling, aging walls of the small houses and the brand new sheets they are roofed with.

    “The compensation money excites people here,” says Onencan Paolyel, who runs a local community based organisation in Buliisa town council. “They buy motorcycles and mabati (roofing sheets).” Read More

  • A cloudy day in Buseruka, Hoima District. (Photo: Thomas White)

    Compensation remains thorny issue in oil regions

    A cloudy day in Buseruka, Hoima District. (Photo: Thomas White)

    “We are frustrated since we have not received fair pay in compensation for our properties,” complains Albert Wathum, a resident of Panyimur fishing village on the shores of Lake Albert in Nebbi District.

    He claims that since Total E&P began exploring in the area, many gardens and homesteads have been destroyed in the process of surveying, building access roads and constructing oil well pads. Residents expected compensation but, according to some, what they received was peanuts.

    “Usually, a grown mango tree can fetch up to 120,000 shillings (USD 46) but we are being given 80,000. A cassava garden for instance acts like a source of food and income but is being compensated at only 120,000,” according to Mr. Wathum, who sounds more frustrated than other locals in the village. Read More

  • His Excellency Patrick Edwards

    Resource wealth can cause re-colonisation, warns Envoy

    His Excellency Patrick Edwards

    Resource rich countries in Africa are at risk of a new form of colonization unless they check the alarming rate at which foreigners are taking over their land, says the High Commissioner of Trinidad and Tobago to Uganda.

    In an exclusive interview at the sidelines of the East African Petroleum Conference (EAPC) in Arusha last month, His Excellency Patrick Edwards, also revealed to Oil in Uganda that his country was bidding for the recently tendered Eldoret-Kampala pipeline project.

    “Re-colonization is not necessarily political colonization but economic and social colonization,” he explained. “One has to be careful, there has been a scramble for Africa in the 19th century. The major scramble has been from the former European countries. You have all these countries returning here (Africa) because the developed world is declining economically and they have problems of employment and monetary issues. They are all running back to Africa for salvation,” he said. Read More

  • Image: the Ondiek exploration well

    Hope and frustration in Nebbi, Uganda’s new oil frontier

    This is as close as one can approach Ondiek well without attracting the attention of security guards.

    PANYIMUR SUB-COUNTY, NEBBI DISTRICT:   “It came around Christmas time” says Sylvester Odongo, LC-1 chairman of Abok village, referring to the red and white drilling rig that towers over the bush a few hundred metres from his compound of four, grass-thatched huts.

    It doesn’t trouble them much in the day, he adds—except that when villagers get close to the fenced-off rig, to tend their gardens of cassava and cotton, security guards order them away. Then, at dusk, extra generators kick in to light up the 24-7 drilling operation.  “The noise is terrible and it’s really hard to sleep” the tired chairman complains. Read More

  • Image: Christmas turkey

    So you think you know about oil? And want to be a millionaire?

    For this young man, a bird on the shoulder is worth more than a barrel of oil in the bush (Photo: NY)

    The Oil in Uganda team extends warm, seasonal greetings to all our readers.  Also, to entertain you in between bouts of feasting, we have prepared a little quiz to test your general knowledge of oil  in Uganda and beyond.  Doing the quiz won’t, alas, make you a millionaire, but you may glean some interesting–and some shocking–facts. The answers to the following twenty questions appear at the end of the text—together with a ‘performance assessment’ depending on how many questions you answered correctly. Read More

  • This is as close as one can approach Ondiek well without attracting the attention of security guards.  (NY)

    Lands ministry moves to protect customary rights in oil region

    Following widespread land wrangles in the oil-rich Albertine region, the Ministry of Lands has announced plans to resolve this through guidelines to aid in compensation of customary land owners.

    “It is crucial at the moment since people’s rights are at stake and we have the responsibility of protecting the poor and their property. We therefore have to put in place guidelines to ensure that those big oil companies and investors have an arrangement to adhere to and operate within the laws,” Ministry spokesman, Dennis Obbo, told Oil in Uganda. Read More

  • Image: Geoffrey Kiwedde, LC II for Kabaale Parish

    Refinery site residents remain in limbo, and some go hungry

    Geoffrey Kiwedde, LC II for Kabaale Parish (Photo: F. Womakuyu)

    KABAALE PARISH, HOIMA DISTRICT: Kyapaloni village is deserted. The crowds in the once bustling marketplace are no more. Some homes are shut up, bushes have besieged others, and the gardens are empty of the crops they once boasted.

    “The government has told us to begin packing our property and not to grow crops that take more than three months to mature. They said we shall be re-located from this place anytime soon to pave way for the refinery,” says Geoffrey Kiwedde, a Local Councillor II for Kabaale Parish in Buseruka sub-county of Hoima District.

    Kiwedde still doesn’t know when he will have to move or when he will receive compensation for the 18 acres of land that he will give up. Read More

  • “We were cheated!” say brothers. “They’re opportunists!” say officials.

    KANARA SUB-COUNTY, NTOROKO DISTRICT:  Two brothers in this recently created district accuse local officials of leasing to international oil companies land that their family had inherited—but the officials deny any wrongdoing, claiming that the brothers are “opportunists” trying to cash in on oil wealth.

    Edward Tibamwenda and Sam Kato, blood brothers who live mainly from fishing on the southern shores of Lake Albert, claim that in 2005 Bundibugyo District officials leased five acres of their family’s land to Heritage Oil and Gas.  The family, the brothers say, was neither consulted nor compensated. Read More