Democratic Party (DP) president Norbert Mao has asked government to expedite the compensation process under the East African Crude Oil Pipeline project.
While addressing the media at their weekly press conference in Kampala yesterday, Mr Mao said government should urgently compensate the land owners in the 10 districts where the oil pipeline is projected to pass.
“We are concerned because the Ugandan government has no single shilling for this project, we want assurance that the first expenditure for this project is going to be compensation of land owners,” he said.
Mr Mao said although compensation is supposed to be done by two partner companies; Tanzanian Petroleum Cooperation and Uganda National Oil Company, the government should make a follow up.
“These people are Ugandans who live along the 296 kilometres that the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) is going to cover up to the Tanzanian border but they are worried about their compensation,” he said.
Mr Mao added that previously, DP campaigned vigorously against the amendment of Article 26 of the Constitution which sought to give government powers of compulsory acquisition of one’s land for such projects and determine compensation later.
Mr Mao also said they know that the pipeline will create jobs but compensation is a human right issue.
He said they will next week launch a campaign dubbed “Prompt and prior adequate compensation” aimed at sensitising citizens who are supposed to be compensated on how they can handle such issues if they want justice.
The Petroleum Authority of Uganda spokesperson, Ms Gloria Ssebikari, said the resettlement plan study, which includes evaluation reports showing how much every person is supposed to get, has been approved.
“These reports were approved in January and the next step is the survey of an assessment of the orphan land and it is ongoing. The compensations process is on,” she told Daily Monitor in a telephone interview yesterday.
She added that once they disclose this information to the affected people and they sign acceptance forms, then the payment process will start.
During the same briefing, DP also asked President Museveni to extend the curfew hours from 9pm to 10pm so that Muslims can be able to perform their night prayer (Talaweeh), which starts at around 8pm up to 9.30pm.
The affected districts
The 10 districts affected by the project are Hoima, Kikuube, Kakumiro, Kyankwanzi, Mubende, Gomba, Ssembabule, Lwengo, Kyotera and Rakai.
Speaking at a press briefing last week ,on the oil agreements signed on Sunday, the Eacop company general manager, Mr Martin Tiffen explained that the pipeline would start in Tanzania because the distance is longer moving into Uganda. Although Mr Tiffen was unwilling to provide additional details, sources told Daily Monitor that in Tanzania land acquisition is much easier because government owns the land.