Fear of being destitute has gripped some of the residents in Buseruka sub-county, Hoima District that were affected by the oil refinery and opted to be directly relocated following revelations that some of them are missing on the list of those to get houses that are nearing completion in Kyakaboga village, Buseruka sub county Hoima District.
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.
According to the Resettlement Action Plan, each project affected person was given two options; cash payment or resettlement. 83 families opted for resettlement. These, according to the RAP (page 34), were entitled to a full package of titled land and a house. However, government has constructed 46 houses leaving out 37 families on grounds that they had no houses on their land before eviction.
John Piker, 31, is of one the people who will not get a house and is uncertain of what will happen once others are relocated.
“We had an extended family and I had constructed a small grass-thatched house next to my mother’s. However, I was told that I had no house. I don’t know whether I will sleep under a tree in my land once others are relocated to their houses,” a seemingly worried Piker narrated.
Innocent Tumwebaze, the Chairperson of Oil Refinery Residents Association, says during the assessment, houses that would be found in an extended household would be attributed to the head of the family which in the end affected many people.
“Some people have now resorted to considering cash compensation and that is why the number reduced from 93 who had originally opted for relocation to 83,” says Tumwebaze.
Richard Orebi, the chairperson of Resettlement Committee for Oil Refinery Affected People says Kyakaboga has been treated into a no gone area yet those who are not supposed to get houses would wish to put up houses.
“We are wondering where these people will go once the relocation is executed,” says Orebi.
The 37 families have on several occasions protested government’s decision saying whoever opted for relocation was promised a house.
“After getting information that government was planning to relocate their colleagues in Kyakaboga, the affected families set up grass thatched houses in the same area in January but were later burnt down,” says Tumwebaze
Kadiri Kirungi, the LCV chairman for Hoima district said that they are aware about the residents’ plight and are demanding government to address their concerns.
Living in the wilderness
The families that have been waiting for government resettlement since 2012 claim that they have been invaded by pastoralists, in the bushy oil refinery, who graze in their gardens and destroy their crops and any attempt to seek help from authorities falls on a deaf ear.
Tumwebaze says most children have since dropped out of schools because they fear walking alone in bush paths and being attacked by wild animals.
Compiled by Precious Naturinda