Monday October 13 2014

Youth question Bunyoro MPs silence on oil

Bishop George Kasangaki (R) at the youth conference

Bishop George Kasangaki (R) who opened the youth conference and other religious leaders listen to Total E & P public relations officer Christopher Ocowun at Gunya-1 Oil Well in Buliisa District. PHOTO BY Francis Mugerwa. 

By FRANCIS MUGERWA & GEORGE MUZOORA

Bushenyi

Youth leaders in Bunyoro sub-region have accused MPs from the oil-rich region of being silent in the oil debate whenever it features in Parliament.

Mr Ibrahim Nasur, the Masindi Youth coordinator of Uganda Muslim Supreme Council, said the youth are reluctant to give their views to Bunyoro MPs because they hardly push for youth and Bunyoro’s demands for oil royalties, oil-related scholarships, trainings and businesses.

“When youth raise issues hindering them from tapping oil opportunities, some MPs shun them on suspicion that we could be pushing issues that are against government positions,” he alleged.

Mr Augustus Bigirwenkya,a reporter at Radio Kitara in Masindi wondered how youth can petition Parliament meaningfully yet some vital documents about the oil sector such as the oil production sharing agreements are still a secret.

More than 100 youth leaders voiced their concerns during a one-day meeting held last week. It was organised by Global Rights Alert, an NGO and the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda.

The youth drawn from the districts of Kibaale, Hoima, Masindi, Buliisa and Kiryandongo participated in the Bunyoro Youth of Faith Conference on Oil and Gas Advocacy organised under the theme “Called to be stewards of God’s creation: Understanding our role as the Youth of faith”.

The meeting held in Masindi was aimed at laying strategies through which the youth can tap benefits from oil and gas.

The Bishop of Masindi-Kitara Diocese, the Rt Rev George Kasangaki, who opened the conference, asked the youth leaders to mobilise other youth to have keen interest in oil.

Their demands
• Oil explorers have discovered over 3.5 billion barrels of oil in the Albertine grabben.
• The youth are demanding special and deliberate initiatives from government and oil companies to enable them tap benefits accruing from the oil sector.
• The youth formed a five-man inter-faith youth platform through which they can champion and spearhead their interests.
• The platform comprised of youth leaders from the roman catholic church, the Anglican church, the Muslims and the Seventh day Adventist Church,is headed by Fr Birungi Sylvester,the Hoima diocesan youth coordinator.

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com

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