Government of Uganda Approves Construction of East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline amidst delayed and unfair compensation

Rev. Fred Musimenta is among the affected persons in Butimba Village, Kizirafumbi Sub County in Kikuube district that have not yet been compensated for their land earmarked for the construction of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline.

According to Rev. Musimenta, he resolved to halt signing of evaluation and compensation forms pending response to his complaints about unfair compensation.

“My property was undervalued and I refused to sign for that little compensation. The evaluation rates that were used were not current, since then nothing has been done,” said Rev. Musimenta.

80-year old Norah Kakenge, another project affected person from Butimba village also wonders why the compensation has been delayed and fears that she might die before receiving her package.

“I am staying with orphans. My land was being used as collateral in the bank to get loan for school fees and now I am not able to do it. It has since affected me that I have nowhere to get money from and these delays make me fear that I might die before I receive it,” she said.

Eng. Herbert Magezi Mugizi, the Principle Engineer in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development – MEMD disclosed that close to 68 percent of the PAPs have already been compensated while the pending compensations are expected to be concluded by the end of 2023

Despite the delays, cabinet has approved the application by the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Company Limited for a license for the construction of the 1,443 km long East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline in Uganda.

Addressing a press conference on 19th February, Mr. Magezi, said the approval of the applicable license now grants the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Company Limited legal access to start actual construction.

Rev. Musimenta says the green light to pipeline construction leaves them in fear that they will be compromised into consenting to the unfair compensation values as they have done to some of their colleagues.

The land acquisition program for the said project was rolled out in August 2018 and the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) promised to start compensation in early 2021. However, until today, the project-affected persons have not received compensation, even though they were stopped from using their land.

Kikuube Vice Chairperson, Vincent Opio said people’s livelihoods and development progress have been affected by delayed compensation urging the government to accelerate the compensation process for the smooth running of the project. 

NEW DIRECTOR FOR ROSA LUXEMBURG FOUNDATION FOR EAST AFRICA TOURS NAPE SUPPORTED ACTIVITIES

The new Director for Rosa Luxemburg Foundation for East Africa, Katrin Voss has commended the efforts of Community Green Radio and communities in promoting human rights and preserving indigenous seeds for food sovereignty in Albertine Region.

Ms.Katrin and Mr.Samuel Kasirye, the Rosa Program Coordinator for Uganda were on a 2-day tour to Community Green Radio and Sustainability Members supported by RLS through National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) in Kiboga, Hoima, Kikuube and Buliisa districts.

During her tour, Ms.Katrin was treated to exhibitions of indigenous food species and eco-friendly projects carried out by listeners clubs and sustainability school members to promote food sovereignty and conserve the environment.

At Community Green Radio, the Listeners Club Members exhibited packed honey, tradition crafts and rabbits. Sarah Kamyuka, the chairperson of Kapeke Listeners club said they listen and put into practice what they learn on radio and also share with others. She said each listeners club has a project they are carrying out to act as role models through improved livelihoods and environmental conservation.

In Butimba, Lucy Mbuubi, a member of Butimba Sustainability School said NAPE has supported them in fighting for human rights and promoting food sovereignty. They exhibited indigenous maize, ground nuts, beans, millet and sorghum that the group is conserving and promoting in communities.

In Buliisa; Alice Kazimura, the Director for Kakindo Women’s Integrated Development Association (KAWIDA) said the district has become a hub of industrialization as a result of oil boom which has in turn led to land conflicts; increased gender based violence and led t food insecurity. She said the communities with support from ROSA through NAPE have played a big role in sensitizing communities about the challenges and finding solutions. The group exhibited indigenous cassava, sweet potatoes, beans and pumpkins the group is promoting.

Katrin said she was impressed that the communities are actively taking part in conserving the indigenous seeds which are resilient to climate changes and can promote food sovereignty in homes.

She said she was shocked by what capitalists are doing the country; taking away land for industrialization, forcing land titling to communities and introducing Genetically modified seeds which in turn are largely contributing to violence against women, threatening food insecurity and causing injustices on land.

She said she is equally happy that the communities especially women are aware of the challenges and taking swift efforts to solve the problems.

“I am proud of you! Seeing you strong and standing together in solidarity to fight against violence against women, taking care of local seeds and finding solutions, I feel so impressed. And I encourage you to continue saving the seeds, have kitchen gardens to maintain food security and continue protecting women against violence caused by developments,” she said.

She pledged Rosa’s commitment to continue supporting the communities.

“Rosa will not stop supporting the projects and we are proud of you!” she said addressing communities in Kikuube, Hoima and Buliisa districts in separate engagements.

GOVERNMENT HAS OPPRESSED ME BUT I AM NOT READY TO GIVE UP – BULIISA OIL CENTRAL PROCESSING FACILITY PAP

During our phone conversation, Jelous Mugisa Mulimba sounded disgruntled and exhausted but not ready to give up on fighting for adequate compensation.

 “Let government take that cash compensation forever, I want a house not money!” he repeatedly emphasized as he hung up on phone.

Mulimba, 50, a family head of nine people is among seven people that are battling a court case for allegedly sabotaging a government project after they protested against inadequate compensation of their land.

His land is part of a 772-acre piece of land that was acquired by government in 2017 to host an Oil Central Processing Facility currently under construction in Kasinyi village, Ngwedo Sub County in Buliisa district.

“I opted for land compensation but to my surprise during disclosure to know the value of property affected by the project, I was told that I was to take cash compensation,” he said. “I dint understand why government was forcing me to take what I dint ask for. I and my wife insisted that we are not taking cash,” he added.

Mulimba said that he was then summoned to court in Masindi by the Attorney General.

The Attoney General wanted government to deposit their compensation money in court and allow the project to proceed.

“The members of our family accepted the compensation of the family land measuring 13 acres with each at 3.5 million shillings and disturbance allowance of 30 percent but for me I refused,” he explained.

According to Mugisha, on 30th April 2021, he and other respondents lost the case. He noted that with assistance of some NGO, they appealed but the case has never been heard.

“Since then, the case has not been heard. The NGO that took over our case tells us that they refused to fix the date for hearing. We are stuck but we have not given up,” noted Mulimba.

Mulimba said he is currently faced by threats and intimidation from government officials who think he is sabotaging government programs. However, Mulimba says he is not ready to give up on fighting for his rights.

“I want to leave a legacy for my children. They will live to know that I fought for their rights. I will not take that money. Let government take in if it wants,” he said.

PRESIDENT MUSEVENI’S DELAYED PROMISES IRK STARVING EVICTED RESIDENTS IN KYANKWANZI

At 63, Mrs. Teopista Nakamanyiro, a widow and a resident of Kiyuni village in Kyankwanzi district was sure that her 3 acres of coffee would sustain her livelihood in her old age.

She narrates that in a good harvesting season; she would earn a minimum of 3,000,000 Ugandan shillings throughout the season. But this retirement plan was cut short in February 2022 when the graders and excavators razed down her coffee plantation that has sustained her livelihood for years.

Nakamanyiro is among over 300 families whose gardens were destroyed following a forced eviction in Gayaza Sub County in Kyankwanzi district.

The affected residents are from Kyerere North, Kyerere East, Kiyuni central, Kiryajobyo west, and Kibanda villages. They are feuding with Linda Nyakairima, the widow of the late Internal Affairs Minister Gen.Aronda Nyakairima who is alleged to have fraudulently acquired a title for the land measuring about 5 square miles.

In July last year, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni promised to compensate Linda so that people will get back their land. The president’s message was delivered by the Minister of Land, Housing and Urban Development, Ms. Judith Nabakooba who visited the affected residents and also assured them of compensation of their destroyed crops.

However, the process of compensation seems to be slow yet the affected residents are in dire need of food.

“When we tried to follow up, the Minister told us that the president gave an order without readily available source of money for compensation. This left us in confusion. This means that the people will not get back to their land soon yet they have no food,” said Leosam Sebalunzi, the LCIII Chairperson for Gayaza Sub County.

Dr. John Mpuuga, the Kyankwanzi LCV chairperson said, “Minister Nabakooba delivered President’s message on compensation without verifying the source of money. She raised the false hopes of the affected residents who are currently languishing in starvation and lack of livelihood.”

Dr. Mpuuga said the government should expedite the process of compensation so that people go back to their land.

In December 2022, during her visit to Kiboga, Nabakooba noted that the issue of compensation is being handled by the president’s office and will soon be sorted.

Affected residents at the verge of starvation

The graders and excavators destroyed the crops including banana plantations, beans, maize, mangoes, cassava, coffee, jackfruit and rice planted by the residents.

“From the time our crops were destroyed, I am struggling to feed my children. Though the gardens were destroyed, the houses were left untouched. So our houses are surrounded by crops of people hired to till the land. And this is tempting. You cannot stop a hungry child from stealing maize planted in your compound. This leaves me in fear of being arrested,” said thoughtful Nakamanyiro.

Gayaza LC111 chairperson, Leosam Ssebalunzi said the residents are struggling to survive without food. He notes that they were denied access to their gardens by the soldiers who were deployed on the disputed land and outsiders who were hired to till the land.

He called upon the government to supply them with food and other basic necessities as they wait for the compensation.

NAPE RALLIES WOMEN TO RAISE VOICES AND BE EMPOWERED TO LEAD THE FIGHT AGAINST GENDER BASED VIOLENCE DRIVEN BY CLIMATE CHANGE

On 25th November 2022, Uganda joined the rest of the world in 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. The campaign kicks off on International Day of Elimination of Violence against Women and runs till December 10th, the Human rights day.

National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) in collaboration with other partners participated in the campaign with grassroots women, rising awareness on how climate change contributes to gender based violence and how women can spearhead the fight against all forms of gender based violence.

NAPE held two awareness raising meetings; one for women from oil-rich districts in Hoima, Kikuube, Buliisa, Amuru and Nwoya who are affected by oil extractives and large plantations which was held in Hoima district; and another with the fisher folk in the suburbs of Munyonyo landing site.

During the meeting in Hoima, the women stressed that women and girls are largely impacted by the effects of climate change since they are more reliant on natural resources to support their livelihoods.

 “Like in Amuru, there has been abnormal rainfall affecting the crops in the garden. This is already causing violence in families due to economic hardships and looming food insecurity since we largely depend on agriculture for our livelihood,” said Owek Jenifer from Amuru district.

“Floods in Buliisa district have caused displacements fuelling gender based violence. Young girls in areas hardly hit by floods have dropped out of schools and married off at a young age while women have been left with the burden of sole responsibility of the children. Besides that, drought affects the districts and it leaves cattle dead and crops dried up leading to economic hardships and food insecurity. These heavily affect women,” said Ms.Elinah Kaahwa from Buliisa.

However, the women said they are determined to stand up together and find solutions for sustainable development and overcoming the challenges. The women also call on government to implement punitive measures that apprehend GBV perpetrators.

“We need to work together to improve our sources of income so that we can educate our children, we highly depend on natural resources because we did not go to school to get better jobs. We also need to engage in making charcoal briquettes and energy saving stoves to reduce risks that women and girls face while walking long distances to look for firewood and water,” said Christine Nyangoma from Hoima.

The meeting at Munyonyo landing site was organised by NAPE together with SIMMA Africa for Creative Arts, Girls for Climate Action and Fridays for Future Uganda who are jointly implementing PISCCA project, “Towards an Intergenerational and Creative Feminist Movement in Uganda” with support from French Embassy under Gender and Climate coalition.

The fisher folk noted that climate change accelerates Gender Based Violence within the fishing communities when they don’t catch enough. The women noted that the biggest challenge is fellow women not supporting victims and looking at them as the cause of violence based on their dress code.

They also noted how the fish catchment has reduced which causes physical fights at the landing site as they struggle to get what to sale and be able to fend for their families. The girls that work in the bars expressed how they are unsafe due to the nature of their job and how men think that by virtue of doing the job they have consented to all forms of sexual advances whereas not and yet their bosses think this should be fine with them.

“Men need to be sensitized as change agents for gender based violence since they are the perpetrators and degraders of the environment,” said a fish vendor at Mulungu landing site.

Joan Akiiza, the senior Gender and legal affairs officer at NAPE noted that gender issues are magnified when climate crisis occurs, as women face the burden of increasing household responsibilities and are vulnerable to domestic and sexual violence.

She called upon women and girls to raise their voices and report all cases of GBV to police she shared with them a hotline to dial and report cases without suffering in silence to stop all forms of gender based violence that affect women and girls.

NAPE RALLIES WOMEN TO RAISE VOICES AND BE EMPOWERED TO LEAD THE FIGHT AGAINST GENDER BASED VIOLENCE DRIVEN BY CLIMATE CHANGE

On 25th November 2022, Uganda joined the rest of the world in 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. The campaign kicks off on International Day of Elimination of Violence against Women and runs till December 10th, the Human rights day.

National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) in collaboration with other partners participated in the campaign with grassroots women, rising awareness on how climate change contributes to gender based violence and how women can spearhead the fight against all forms of gender based violence.

NAPE held two awareness raising meetings; one for women from oil-rich districts in Hoima, Kikuube, Buliisa, Amuru and Nwoya who are affected by oil extractives and large plantations which was held in Hoima district; and another with the fisher folk in the suburbs of Munyonyo landing site.

During the meeting in Hoima, the women stressed that women and girls are largely impacted by the effects of climate change since they are more reliant on natural resources to support their livelihoods.

Daisy Kwikiriza, PWD representative from Buliisa district with an advocacy message against GBV

 “Like in Amuru, there has been abnormal rainfall affecting the crops in the garden. This is already causing violence in families due to economic hardships and looming food insecurity since we largely depend on agriculture for our livelihood,” said Owek Jenifer from Amuru district.

“Floods in Buliisa district have caused displacements fuelling gender based violence. Young girls in areas hardly hit by floods have dropped out of schools and married off at a young age while women have been left with the burden of sole responsibility of the children. Besides that, drought affects the districts and it leaves cattle dead and crops dried up leading to economic hardships and food insecurity. These heavily affect women,” said Kaahwa Elina from Buliisa.

However, the women said they are determined to stand up together and find solutions for sustainable development and overcoming the challenges. The women also call on government to implement punitive measures that apprehend GBV perpetrators.

“We need to work together to improve our sources of income so that we can educate our children, we highly depend on natural resources because we did not go to school to get better jobs. We also need to engage in making charcoal briquettes and energy saving stoves to reduce risks that women and girls face while walking long distances to look for firewood and water,” said Christine Nyangoma from Hoima district.

climate change coalition partners with advocacy messages on GBV

The meeting at Munyonyo landing site was organised by NAPE together with SIMMA Africa for Creative Arts, Girls for Climate Action and Fridays for Future Uganda who are jointly implementing PISCCA project, “Towards an Intergenerational and Creative Feminist Movement in Uganda” with support from French Embassy under Gender and Climate coalition.

Climate change coalition partners with advocacy messages on GBV

The fisher folk noted that climate change accelerates Gender Based Violence within the fishing communities when they don’t catch enough The women noted that the biggest challenge is fellow women not supporting victims and looking at them as the cause of violence based on their dress code.

They also noted how the fish catchment has reduced which causes physical fights at the landing site as they struggle to get what to sale and be able to fend for their families. The girls that work in the bars expressed how they are unsafe due to the nature of their job and how men think that by virtue of doing the job they have consented to all forms of sexual advances whereas not and yet their bosses think this should be fine with them.

“Men need to be sensitized as change agents for gender based violence since they are the perpetrators and degraders of the environment,” said a fish vendor at Mulungu landing site.

Group photo with girls from Mulungu fishing landing site in Munyonyo

Joan Akiiza, the senior Gender and legal affairs officer at NAPE noted that gender issues are magnified when climate crisis occurs as women face the burden of increasing household responsibilities and are vulnerable to domestic and sexual violence.

She called upon women and girls to raise their voices and report all cases of GBV to police  she shared with them a hotline to dial and report cases without suffering in silence to stop all forms of gender based violence that affect women and girls.

ENDS//

COMMUNITY GREEN RADIO/ RADIO KIBOGA GETS APPROVAL FROM UGANDA COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

Radio Kiboga limited which hosts Community Green Radio is on the released list of fully licensed radio stations allowed to broadcast by the regulator, Uganda Communications Commission.

In June this year, government ordered all radios to re-apply for licences in order to enable government roll new licences.

The UCC was established under section 4 of the Uganda Communications Act, 2013 with the goal of developing a modern communications sector in Uganda including radios.

The list of radios was released on 20th November (check 175 on the list https://www.ucc.co.ug/list-of-approved-radio-broadcasters/ )

COMMUNITY GREEN RADIO GETS FACELIFT

The Community Green Radio (CGR) based in Kiboga Town has received an all-round facelift aimed at boosting its corporate image and providing a conducive atmosphere for staff to work in and the listeners who are always hosted at the radio.

The CGR was started in 2014 largely with support from the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation but it was only in 2019 when it managed to get its own home in Kiboga in western side of Uganda. For infrastructure development, the CGR relies on donations from different entities and locally generated revenue.

For this current development, that involves painting the office block and furnishing it, the radio has received support from a NAPE project that is being supported by the European Union (EU). The project aimed at fighting gender-based violence and other human rights abuses is already using the CGR for community mobilization and sensitization.

Mr. Rajab Bwengye the coordinator of the EU Project at NAPE said, “The Community Green Radio is very important for this project. It is helping us to create safe space for victims of gender-based violence to converge and share their experience and then use its airwaves to highlight the problem and seek for solutions”

Allan Kalangi, the NAPE officer in charge of the Community Green Radio welcomed the support. He said that the CGR is committed to being a development partner of the grassroots communities in the region and acting as their mouthpiece in their quest for realization of social and economic justice.

NAPE INITIATES MEDIATION WITH HOIMA SUGAR LIMITED THAT GIVES HOPE TO KIGYAYO EVICTED RESIDENTS IN KIKUUBE DISTRICT

Evicted residents living in Kigyayo camp for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) and Hoima Sugar Limited, a sugar company in Kiziranfumbi Sub County have started the process of resolving the long stand conflict caused by human rights abuses and infringement of the rights to a healthy environment by the company.

This was reached at in a dialogue meeting between the company and effected residents that was organized by National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) and Kikuube district leaders at the district headquarters on November 11th.

Over 300 families that were evicted by Hoima Sugar limited to pave way for sugarcane growing in 2014 accused the company of allegedly contaminating the water sources, causing air pollution and destroying access roads in their area.

In a meeting, the evicted residents led by Steven Buryahika said they have been treated to inhumane conditions from the time they were evicted from their land in 2015 up to now.

“The water sources have been turned into dumping sites for sugar molasses and bagasse which have percolated into wells and the streams destroying the water. The water has turned black and smells making it unsafe for use. Even communities living near the dumping sites have also been affected by toxic bagasse dust,” said Buryahika during the meeting.

The area village chairperson, Edward Tumusiime said the molasses have also affected the community roads and the residents have no option but to pass through sugarcane plantations which has exposed women and teenage girls to defilement and rape.

“There company sugar workers are engaged in acts of rape, defilement and knocking our people with company cars because they use risky roads that go through the sugarcane plantation,” Tumusiime said

In a meeting, the Company Agro-manager, Rethinasamy Venket pledged that the company would fund the establishment of a police post in Kiswaza Trading centre to handle lawlessness among the workers and the community and also open up a company liaison’s office to strengthen the collaboration.

On rehabilitation of community roads, water sources and solving solution, Venket said the company will hold talks with the local leaders to address them. To this, a four-member committee consisting of the village chairperson, LC111 chairperson, Woman councillor and the District Natural Resources Officer was selected to start the talks with the sugar company and will give a report in two weeks’ time.

Peter Banura, the district Chairperson said the land that was taken was fertile and a food basket and people who lost it need to be heard and empowered to support the company than harassing them. He said dialogue was long overdue urging the company to stick to its commitments.

Joan Akiiza, the NAPE lawyer said the long standing conflict needs to be solved amicably to ensure that the company runs the business without destroying the natural resources and infringing on human rights.

POVERTY AND LACK OF ENOUGH RESOURCES SPARKING DOMESTIC AND GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE IN KYANGWALI REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT CAMP

Poverty and lack of enough resources are largely contributing to gender-based violence cases which are largely affecting women and children in Kyangwali Refugee Resettlement camp in Kikuube district.

Jolly Kebirungi, the Refugee Desk Officer that coordinates Kyangwali refugee camp, says the influx of refugees has continuously put pressure on existing natural resources and services, sparking conflicts between the refugees and the host communities.

According to Kebirungi, refugees have increased from 35,000 in 2017 to over 350,000 currently and when they come they are integrated in the host communities leading to competition over resources like land, water and firewood and services like health.

This is witnessed at Kyangwali Local Peace Hub that was put up by National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE).

According to Alex Kutosi, the Hub Focal Person, the hub has received 18 cases most of which are domestic violence cases in October alone.

He says due to increasing number of refugees, the land given out to refugees is not enough for settlement and growing food and most of the refugees have no other source of livelihood apart from depending on relief aid.

He says as a result, the couples end up fighting with women and children suffering most.

He, however, notes that the hub is helping to resolve the conflicts through mediation and encouraging peaceful co-existence.

Joan Akiiza, the NAPE Senior Gender and Legal Advocacy Officer says the peace hub was put up and a two year project to resolve cases through mediation and dialogue and over 100 cases have so far been registered and solved while others that of capital in nature have been