Students protest EU motion on oil pipeline

Students under their umbrella body the Uganda National Students’ Association (UNSA), march to European Union offices to protest the resolution to delay the construction of the oil pipeline on September 29, 2022. PHOTO/ABUBAKER LUBOWA 

What you need to know:

  • Speaking to journalists before setting off from Kololo, Mr Yusuf Werunga, the UNSA president, said Uganda’s development can neither wait nor be postponed.

A group of students from various schools yesterday marched around Kampala streets protesting the September 16 resolution by the European Parliament seeking to delay the development of the East African Crude Oil pipeline (EACOP).

The students, under the Uganda National Students Association (UNSA), started the protest from the Kololo Independence Ground in Kampala. 

They marched through several streets, guarded and guided by police as they held placards and chanted anti-European Union (EU) slogans. 

They concluded the march at Crested Towers, where the offices of the EU Delegation are located.  Two student representatives later met the EU officials in a closed-door meeting.

Speaking to journalists before setting off from Kololo, Mr Yusuf Werunga, the UNSA president, said Uganda’s development can neither wait nor be postponed.

“We had hope in this pipeline project. This project meant to transform our country and the economy,” he said.
He added: “European Union should respect the sovereignty of Uganda as a country to start dealing with their own issues. We have much hope in our country’s oil. It’s going to employ most of us who are in school right now.”

In an interview with Monitor last evening, the press and information officer of the EU Delegation, Mr Emmanuel Gyezaho, said they received a petition from the UNSA students detailing their concerns.

“The appeal was received by the deputy head of EU delegation to Uganda, Mr Guillaume Chartrain, who promised the youth that the petition would be forwarded to the EU parliament and have a discussion on the same,” he said.

Mr Gyezaho said the students used the engagement to reaffirm their support for the EU’s positive transformative projects to Uganda noting that EACOP can be one of them as long as it is done in a sustainable way.

This is the second protest at the EU offices in less than two weeks by different groups over the same matter. Last week, activists protested the resolution at the EU offices in Kampala

However, there were concerns raised on social media about the ethics of dragging school-going children into a matter they barely understand.

On September 16, EU lawmakers voted to pass the resolution that seeks to compel Uganda and Tanzania to delay the development of the EACOP for at least a year to consider an alternative route with the least environment footprint.

President Museveni on Tuesday called the EU lawmakers opposed to the project “shallow” and reiterated that everything will go on as planned for commercial oil production to start in 2025.
“I encourage the oil companies to continue the refinery and oil pipeline. I hope our partners will join us firmly and advise accordingly,” he said.

Don’t want to miss out on any story? For updates on all Monitor stories, follow this link on Telegram: