CSOs resume intellectual study group discussions on land management and compensation alternatives

Tuesday, June 6th, 2023 | By

Civic Society Organizations in Uganda, including the National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) have resumed intellectual study groups attended by scholars, activists and professionals.

The first intellectual group engagement this year was organized at NICAN Hotel in Seguku –Kampala on 6th May 2023.

Allan Kalangi, the Sustainability School Manager at NAPE said the objective of the study group was to generate debate around Property compensation alternatives with a case study of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project, generate knowledge and information and also dialogue of the theory and how it is linked to practice.

He explained that it was a follow up of other series of study groups conducted by ROSA Luxemburg Foundation last year. He said the intellectual study group engagements are aimed at triggering thinking around critical issues through dialogues that gather thinkers from different fields and school of thoughts. 

Samuel Kasirye from ROSA Luxemburg Foundation said the intellectual study groups started last year with the goal of creating new thinking around land governance.

Kalangi explained that EACOP compensation has been marred by delays and unfair compensation leaving the effected people frustrated.

“There have been challenges with compensation on customary land since land is communally owned by clans or tribes. There is a challenge of who to compensate under this tenure. Additionally, titled land is given a priority and because of this, people are now turning customary land into freehold to get land titles as a proof of ownership but the process of obtaining land titles is complex and expensive. In other areas, land is under Mailo; and is comprised of absent landlords, which has delayed compensation of the land users. Besides, the pipeline is passing through ecologically sensitive areas and has sparked massive destruction”, Kalangi noted

Joram Basiima, a community member from Kigaaga Village in Hoima district noted that the community is less involved in the compensation process.

“Compensation rates used in the process of compensation are outdated and people have not been involved in setting the compensation rates leading to unfair compensation. People have been frustrated by delayed compensation and I think this is a trick by oil companies to force people to receive little compensation,” said Joam.

During the discussion, Prof. Lwanga Lunyigo, wondered whether the affected people have the leaders.

 “Where is the leadership in all this? Where are the members of parliament, the local governments who were elected to protect the rights of citizens? The question we should be answering is; what do you compensate and who are you compensating? People are lacking pro-people policies and people-centered solutions,” he said.

Suzan Nakacwa, another participant said compensation in Uganda should be defined in Ugandan context to be able to benefit communities.

 “In Uganda, we have not contextualized our problem and uniqueness. Let’s go back to the drawing board and define compensation in a Ugandan context. Relocation and compensation requires like 15 years given to affected people for transition, if they want it fairly done. Let’s talk about transition of families, crops and everything. Let’s go to the communities and hear what the communities are saying and from there we go back to the drawing board”, she said.

The participants agreed to involve more affected people in the study groups.