The Members of Parliament from Bunyoro sub region will Friday meet with the refinery affected women of Kabaale parish, Buseruka sub-county, Hoima district with the view of engaging them on the challenges of land acquisition and resettlement processes.
Other legislators will also attend the meeting under different fora such as the Natural Resources Committee, Parliamentary Forum on Oil and Gas (PFOG) and Uganda Women’s Parliamentary Association (UWPA).
According the sources, the main objective of the meeting that is facilitated by the Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO), will be to enable MPs from the region to meet and listen to the grievances of the ‘refinery affected women, children and men’ after which the issues will be addressed by Parliament for action through its oversight powers.
The meeting will also enable MPs to collect views of the affected communities regarding the Constitutional Amendment No. 13 on Article 26 of the Constitution that seeks to give government powers to compulsorily acquire one’s property before prompt payment of fair and adequate compensation.
The residents of Buseruka area now fear that proposed amendment will not only worsen impacts of resettlement processes which include impoverishment human rights abuses, and isolation of communities, but have dire socio-economic and biodiversity conservation consequences too.
It is hoped that the views of the refinery-affected people who have waited for their compensation for over five years in vain, will be critical in informing the positions of the MPs on the bill before Parliament.
The refinery-affected people, journalists from Bunyoro sub-region and AFIEGO staff will also participate in the meeting expected to draw a clear way forward for the local people as they struggle to relocate.
In a letter dated July 10, 2017, nearly 50 women belonging to households whose land was part of the over 29 square kilometres that was acquired by government more than five years ago for Uganda’s proposed oil refinery in Kabaale-Buseruka Hoima district wrote to their MPs requesting them to find solutions to the depressing conditions they are living in.
Addressed to all MPs from Bunyoro sub-region, the women decried the hunger in their homes since government placed a cut-off date of June 2, 2012 stopping families from growing drought-resistant perennial crops such as cassava, bananas, fruits and others.
Furthermore, they decried the lack of education of their children totaling to over 400 who have missed and continue to miss school since 2012.