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Compensation splits refinery area family

Kakura has been living peacefully with his three wives until their family land was acquired by government.

Mr.Kakura Ounda (Photo: Francis Mugerwa)

Mr.Kakura Ounda (Photo: Francis Mugerwa)

Two years ago, 52-year old Ounda Kakura was a happy man, living with his three wives in Nyahaira village, Buseruka sub-county in Hoima district. As normally is the practice, Kakura had demarcated his land four ways to prevent conflict between his wives. Each wife was allocated a sizeable chunk of land to work on and Kakura retained eleven acres for himself.

When the plan to resettle people from what has now come to be called the ‘refinery area’- a 29 square kilometer of land in Buseruka sub-county- to pave way for the construction of Uganda’s first crude oil refinery, the family was faced with two tough choices: receive cash compensation for their land and property and relocate to another place, or be resettled to another village where the government would give them land and build them new houses.

To Mr. Kakura, the preferred choice was obviously cash compensation so that the entire family shifts to another village and starts a new life together. To his surprise, however, his wives thought otherwise- they instead preferred to be resettled.

According to the Refinery Resettlement Action Plan (RAP), 2615 land and property owners in the refinery area will be compensated while 93 families will be resettled.

“When we told him to apply for resettlement so that we move as a family to one place, he didn’t like it,” explained Jackline Ngamita, his oldest wife that he married in 1982.  “We wanted land where we can set up gardens and live happily with our children.”

The other two wives are Jane Rose Biwaga and Janet Pacudaga. The eldest wife’s land measures 7.8 acres, while Pacudaga and Biwaga own 2.6 and 5.1 acres respectively.

Different paths

Kakura was paid 80 million shillings ($23,000) for his 11 acres of land, houses and crops.

He used part of the money to buy a building in Hoima town for his business and the balance to set up a home and a farm in neighbouring Ndogo village. “I have bought a house in Hoima town at 35 million shillings which I will use as a store for my business,” he told Oil in Uganda. Kakura deals in agricultural produce and will use the house as a warehouse.

The father of 24 children says he anticipates a lonely life since the village he has shifted to is over 40 kilometers away from the area where government plans to relocate those families that opted for resettlement. “I now have to keep moving to check on them. I hope they won’t cheat on me and get other men,” said Kakura.

The three women too are worried that their husband may choose to marry another wife.

Report by our Hoima Correspondent