Bobi Wine

Former presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine has welcomed European Parliament’s resolution saying they need more to stop the abductions and gross Human Rights abuses in Uganda.

Last week, the EU parliament passed a resolution calling on TotalEnergies to take one year before launching the 1445-kilometer East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project to study the feasibility of an alternative route to better safeguard protected and sensitive ecosystems and the water resources of Uganda and Tanzania.

According to the resolution, EU parliament claimed that the project will generate up to 34 million tonnes of carbon emissions per year yet the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned in a 2021 report that limiting global warming to 1.5°C to prevent climate change’s most destructive impacts would require new oil and gas development to stop immediately.

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They also said nearly 118,000 people are affected by the oil projects. Their homes were destroyed to facilitate the construction of access roads; their land was requisitioned without prior payment of fair and adequate compensation. The compensation paid is often far too low to allow farmers whose land has been expropriated to buy comparable land on which to continue farming.

“EU Parliament asks the authorities in Uganda and Tanzania to ensure human rights advocates, journalists, and civil society groups are free to carry out their work in at-risk communities and called for all arbitrarily arrested human rights defenders to be released immediately,” they said.

Bobi Wine said; “We have heard Museveni say that that is his oil. That is not his oil. That is our oil. We welcome the EU Parliament resolution, and we want even more. We have been calling for sanctions. I want to salute the Diaspora team and all Ugandans that have added to our call.”

“I also add my voice to the people suffering in the Diaspora. Many have had their organs taken away and been sexually abused, among others. Currently, more than 1000 Ugandans are stuck in the Diaspora.” he added.

Bobi Wine said today marks a full year since Kawempe North and Makindye West MPs; Ssegirinya Muhammad and Allan Ssewanyana were incarcerated and we continue to call for their release.

“We have seen a new wave of abductions and gross Human Rights abuses, and we expect everybody to raise their voices on that. No wonder the EU Parliament has cited gross Human Rights abuses, among others,” he said adding that the Ugandan government should address the issues raised by the EU parliament instead of urging it to back off the country’s oil.

MUSEVENI REACTION TO EU RESOLUTION

President Yoweri Museveni threatened to drag TotalEnergies to court if it withdrawals from the development of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project.

Museveni remarked following the passing of the European Union (EU) resolutions urging TotalEnergies to take one year before launching the project to study the feasibility of an alternative route to better safeguard protected and sensitive ecosystems and the water resources of Uganda and Tanzania.

According to a source who attended the National Resistance Movement (NRM) Caucus on Friday 16th September at Kololo, Museveni said he didn’t support the development of EACOP from Uganda to Tanzania but he was convinced by TotalEnergies for the projects to begin.

Museveni said Uganda will drag TotalEnergies to court and the country is ready to contract another company to see oil flow by 2025.

Later through his Twitter handle, Museveni assured the country that the project shall proceed as stipulated in the contract we have with TotalEnergies and CNOOC.

“We should remember that Total Energies convinced me about the Pipeline idea; if they choose to listen to the EU Parliament, we shall find someone else to work with. Either way, we shall have our oil coming out by 2025 as planned. So, the people of Uganda should not worry,” Museveni said on Twitter

In February 2022, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) Uganda Limited and TotalEnergies (Total) announced their Final Investment Decision (FID) to respectively develop the Kingfisher Development Area (KFDA) and Tilenga upstream oil projects.

The signing of FID followed the accomplishment of the Host Government Agreements (HGA) agreement signed between the government of Uganda and Tanzania for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project in 2021 planned to be complete by 2025.

The FID will see Total and CNOOC investing more than US$10 billion (Shs 38.1trillion) in developing crude oil production between Uganda and Tanzania. Out of the $10 billion, $3.5 billion (Shs 13.3trillion) will be spent on constructing a heated pipeline linking oil fields in western Uganda to the Indian Ocean port of Tanga in Tanzania. With 897 miles, the pipeline will be one of the World’s longest. The two oil drilling companies are expected to deliver a combined production of 230,000 barrels per day.

On 2nd September 2022, Sinopec Zhongyuan Oil Engineering announced that it kicked off the delivery of its first silent drilling rig from Sichuan Province of China for the Total Energies’ Tilenga drilling project in Uganda. The silent machine also demonstrates green, efficient, intelligent, and environmentally friendly features.

On 15th September 2022, CNOOC announced that an oilfield drilling rig reached Mombasa port and will soon be in Uganda.

“Steps to first oil. Kingfisher oilfield rig reaches Mombasa port and will soon be in Uganda. We are committed to delivering first oil to Uganda and there’s no turning back.” CNOOC said on Twitter.

EU PARLIAMENT’S CLAIMS

On Thursday 15 September, the European Union (EU) Parliament passed resolutions seeking to slow the implementation of the EACOP. The MPs questioned the growing economic influence of China and Russia in the energy sector. They claimed that Uganda’s authorities are interested in developing a nuclear power plant with Russian assistance.

“Tilenga project which is situated within the Murchison Falls natural protected area will jeopardize water resources and irremediably harm the livelihoods of farmers, fisher folk, and tourism business owners. EACOP will endanger nature reserves and habitats despite the project partners’ announcement of its economic and employment benefits, its impact on local communities and the environment is not worth the risk.”

They claimed that the project will generate up to 34 million tonnes of carbon emissions per year yet the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned in a 2021 report that limiting global warming to 1.5 °C to prevent climate change’s most destructive impacts would require new oil and gas development to stop immediately.

According to the resolutions, the MPs claimed that on 9 November 2021Uganda blocked a mission from the EU delegation and the embassies of France, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, and the Netherlands from entering the oil zone.

 “Nearly 118, 000 people are affected by the oil projects. Their homes were destroyed to facilitate the construction of access roads; their land was requisitioned without prior payment of fair and adequate compensation. The compensation paid is often far too low to allow farmers whose land has been expropriated to buy comparable land on which to continue farming. The rights of indigenous communities to free, prior and informed consent are not being respected in accordance with international standards.” they said

“EU expresses its concern about the human rights violations in Uganda and Tanzania linked to investments in fossil-fuel projects, including the wrongful imprisonment of human rights defenders, the arbitrary suspension of NGOs, arbitrary prison sentences, and the eviction of hundreds of people from their land without fair and adequate compensation,” they claimed

EU PARLIAMENT’S RESOLUTIONS ON UGANDA’S OIL

Sitting on Thursday 15th September, they asked the authorities to ensure human rights advocates, journalists, and civil society groups are free to carry out their work in at-risk communities and called for all arbitrarily arrested human rights defenders to be released immediately;

“The governments of Uganda and Tanzania should initiate concrete measures to ensure that authorities, security forces, and policies respect and comply with human rights standards,” they said in a statement.

They urged the Ugandan Government to reauthorize the 54 NGOs that have been arbitrarily closed or suspended and to grant those people who have been displaced without receiving fair and adequate compensation access to their land.

“EU Parliament reiterates its call on the Ugandan authorities to allow free, meaningful and unhindered access to the oil zone for civil society organizations, independent journalists, international observers and researchers,” read part of the statement.

The parliamentarians called EU and the international community to exert maximum pressure on Ugandan and Tanzanian authorities to protect the environment and to put an end to the extractive activities in protected and sensitive ecosystems, including the shores of Lake Albert, and commit to using the best available means to preserve the culture, health, and future of the communities affected and to explore alternatives in line with international climate and biodiversity commitments.

 “TotalEnergies should take one year before launching the project to study the feasibility of an alternative route to better safeguard protected and sensitive ecosystems and the water resources of Uganda and Tanzania, limiting the vulnerability of the watersheds in the African Great Lakes region and to explore alternative projects based on renewable energies for better economic development.”