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Court throws out oil refinery residents’ petition

Two men merry making in Kyapaloni town, Kabaale parish, Hoima. (Photo: Chris Opio)

These two men were found merry making in Kyapaloni town, Kabaale parish, Hoima, shortly after receiving compensation for their land in the refinery area. However, some of their colleagues rejected the “unfair compensation” and chose to go to court (Photo: Chris Opio)

The Land Division Court in Kampala has ruled against an interim injunction to stop the eviction of eleven families in Kabaale Parish, Hoima district, by government, saying it is “a matter of  no urgency.”

In June, the eleven families, alongside other residents of the proposed refinery area,  sought an injunction to compel the Uganda government  to compensate and resettle them immediately or else stop the evictions to allow them to remain on their land.

But today, Assistant Registrar, Otto Gulamali, ruled against the application submitted by Bemanyisa and Co. Advocates, saying it was inadequate and non-compliant with the Constitution.

“In order for this application to have been rendered competent, the representative of the applicants, who also represents other people who are affected by the construction of the refinery, should have conformed and sought a written consent of the other applicants and not just one applicant,” he said.

He faulted the petitioners for not signing the petition.

Some of the Kabale Parish residents who turned up to register their complaints about the compesation process

Some of the Kabaale Parish residents who turned up to register their complaints about the compensation process prior to commencement of the pay outs

“The affidavit was also signed by only the twelfth applicant who in this case is African Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO), while the other 11 complainants did not sign any affidavit or the application submitted before me.”

He added, “There is nothing urgent about this petition since the application was filed sometime in June and since then no steps have been taken to show that the applicants have been evicted.”

Bemanyisa Adonijah, the plaintiff’s representative, expressed his disappointment after the ruling, arguing that the Court did not appreciate the severity of the situation in Kabaale parish.

“I am disappointed by the ruling, but we shall go back to the drawing board and strengthen our application,” he told Oil in Uganda.

According to Patience Akumu, Communications Officer at AFIEGO, the ruling will not deter the NGO from fighting for the rights of the refinery affected persons who are facing eviction.

“All we shall do now is console those families as they live in uncertainty of when they will be evicted,” she told Oil in Uganda, adding that it was unfortunate that the Court did not regard the violation of human rights in Kabaale parish as a matter of urgency that needs to be addressed immediately.

Report by Beatrice Ongode