Govt should fulfil promises made to oil affected people

Saturday March 24 2018

Govt should fulfil promises made oil affected people

Workers at an oil refinery. COURTESY PHOTO 

By Catherine Twongyeirwe

The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development promised the project affected people (PAP), better schools, health centres, water supply, electricity connection, etc. All these are contained in the Resettlement Action Plan.

Last year, however, the Auditor General carried out an audit on the project affected people in the refinery, and key findings were reported, among which were, delays in putting up infrastructure such as schools, health centres, delays in compensation, unfairness in compensation, valuation methodology used was not approved by the Chief Government Valuer, and inadequate compensation, among others.
It is so absurd that the PAPs gave their land to government to carry out oil-related activities yet the government in return has not fulfilled its part of the bargain to date. The PAPs are suffering due to oil-related activities after giving their land for a refinery.
Many children in Kyakaboga village have dropped out of school because they cannot afford to walk long distances to another school. Besides, young children are becoming vulnerable hence are at risk of being kidnapped, raped, or being sacrificed.

The PAPs face the problem of limited access to water as even the available boreholes there require more energy or more people to pump it at ago. There is still no electricity for the affected people yet all these were promised to them in the Resettlement Plan by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.
In addition, the Public Health Act, states that a pit-latrine is supposed to be 20 metres away from the main house yet in Kyakaboga Resettlement, the pit-latrine is only one metre away from the main house. This will have an impact on peoples’ health. Still, there are a lot of more injustices against the PAPs as women are being beaten by the army, which is supposed to protect them. People are being compensated using inappropriate rates and they have not issued land titles. Worse still, there is inadequate enough food.

The government should urgently address these challenges as it also endeavours to fulfil all the promises that are contained in the Resettlement Action Plan. Only then will the lives of the project Affected People be improved.