The latest information from Uganda indicates that civil works for the construction of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) have since commenced amidst lobbying for funding for the same project.
Even as the civil works start, gross violation of human rights in this east African country continues unabated. The once treasured Pearl of Africa has since turned into the deepest grave of Africa when it comes to trampling on human rights.
Take the case of LGBTs who are currently living one day at a time given that a horrendous law was passed to eliminate gays from a country under led by despot Yoweri Museveni.
Once convicted of aggravated homosexuality, the victims are either sent to jail for life or sent to the gallows.
Just recently, organisers of a gay party were hunted down by a combined force of police, military intelligence and internal security organization.
Hundreds of Ugandans have since fled their homes and are living in exile in various friendly and democratic countries, some of which have since been branded enemies of development by despot Museveni.
In fact of these friendly countries like the USA have responded with more punishments, including eliminating Uganda from a tariff-free trade arrangement that was extended to a number of African countries.
Hundreds of traders in Uganda have been left in tears, calling upon the president to withdraw the infamous law.
In adding America warned its citizens and trade organisations against working with Uganda, a country where human rights abuse is the order of the day.
However, more can be done to isolate Uganda. For instance, if Uganda is given the opportunity to start commercial production of oil, the country will earn more money and this is likely to result in gross abuse of human rights.
This is because the despot will have more money at his disposal and will not be relying on donors to fund the country’s national budget and other demands.
Already people affected by EACOP are in tears, according to a new report. Given that EACOP will be running through several districts and covering at least 250km within Uganda, the displaced people have not been given the equivalent compensation for their property so that they can start a new life.
The new report indicates that the EACOP project has, to a great extent, impoverished the Project Affected People (PAPs).This is contained in a research report released November 7, 2023 by Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO).
According to AFIEGO, the research was conducted between April and November 2023. Two hundred and thirty-seven (237) respondents from 31 villages, 16 sub-counties and six of the 10 EACOP-affected districts in Uganda participated in the research.
The participants were drawn from districts of Hoima, Kikuube, Kakumiro, Mubende, Lwengo and Kyotera. They included EACOP project-affected persons, local council leaders, women, the elderly and cultural as well as opinion leaders.
The research assessed the impact that the EACOP project had had on the affected people’s access to land, the productivity of the replacement land that the affected people acquired after being displaced for the EACOP and the changes in income the affected people experienced after being displaced for the EACOP.
The research also assessed whether the EACOP had enhanced the affected people’s access to social services such as schools, health centres and cleans water among others. The EACOP-affected people’s access to employment opportunities in the oil and gas sector was also assessed among others.
The Chief Executive Officer of AFIEGO, Dickens Kamugisha, argues that the Ugandan government and other promoters of the oil and gas industry in Africa have made arguments that the industry is needed to promote socio-economic growth; however, this has not been the case.
“Our research shows that instead of improving the socioeconomic conditions of the affected people, the EACOP led to a regression in the affected people’s lives,” he said.
Given the above violations of human rights, including torture, abduction and killing of opposition activists, the sponsors of the EACOP should consider withdrawing their support for a project whose repercussions will be grave to both human beings and the environment.
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