RESETTLED KYAKABOGA RESIDENTS STRUGGLING TO COPE UP WITH THE NEW ENVIRONMENT

Oil refinery project affected people that opted for resettlement are struggling to get to terms with the new environment in Kyakaboga village in Buseruka Sub county in Hoima district.


The 83 households opted for relocation although government constructed 46 houses. Those with houses have been living in the newly constructed houses for close to one year although they entered their houses at different intervals protesting unfulfilled promises by government among which includes a land title according to the Resettlement Action Plan.


The three bed-roomed houses that were built on a 45x 25 plot of land in a camp-like settlement are separated by small corridors. Each affected person was given a piece of land equivalent to the one lost in the oil in the oil refinery. However, the land is a distance away from the houses. Those who did not get houses have struggled to put up makeshift houses in their allocated land as they settle.


Innocent Tumwebaze, the Chairperson of Oil Refinery Residents Association says the residents are struggling to cope up with the new social set up, source of livelihood, planting seasons and the general environment in the area that totally differs from where they were staying in Kabaale parish.


" Different tribes have their social set up according to their cultures. Like for Alur, when a child makes 12 years, he is supposed to build his own house near his father's but here the houses are congested so it is impossible. Kyakaboga also has one season in a year which were not used to so t has affected our livelihood but we are struggling to cope up," says Tumwebaze.


Angelina Unyera, 30, one of the beneficiaries complains of congestion in the camp which has led to conflicts.


" In such an environment, it is hard to control a child or an animal from going to neighbors and you end up quarreling but we have to get to terms with it," says Ms.Unyera, a mother of five.


For Richard Okumu, he decided to aandon his house because he could not manage living in such a congestion.


" I cannot manage living in conflicts with neighbors besides, I have an extended family and the house is too small to accommodate us so I decided to build another house in my land," explained Okumu.


Angena Midali in her 80s wonders why government decided to resettle them in that way. she says she struggles to trek to her land in addition to finding difficulty in accessing water and firewood urging the government to assist them especially the elderly.


Fausta Tumuheirwe says though the environment is challenging, as women they are trying to form group to support each other for income generation. she says some women have formed Tuende Mbele Women's group that helps them to save some money and share.


" I got detached from most of my friends in Nyahaira parish where I was staying. I am trying to mobilize women to ensure that we pull each other," she says.


Peruth Atukwatse, the Project Assistant for NAPE's Sustainability school program has been calling on the affected women to start up groups that will be able to help them solve some of the challenges they are facing.


"Most of these challenges heavily fall on women but when they come together, they can be able to find solutions," she notes.


Government earmarked a 29-square Kilometer piece of land in Kabaale parish in Buseruka Sub County to host the oil refinery which saw 7118 residents from 13 villages displaced from their ancestral land to pave way for the project.


STORY BY RECIOUS NATURINDA