By Guest Writer
OPINION: Since oil was discovered in Uganda, the ten districts of Hoima, Kikuube, Kakumiro, Kyankwanzi, Mubende, Gomba, Ssembabule, Lwengo, Rakai, and Kyotera in Greater Masaka have had unresolved grievances.
For instance, at the time the project started, the government vowed to compensate the oil-affected communities according to the property they owned, but this has ended in vain.
This is because some of the oil-affected people are still struggling to seek justice. Article 26 Section 2) of the constitution shows that one’s property cannot be taken away except after a prompt payment of fair and adequate compensation.
In Uganda’s case, the law hasn’t been followed. The relocated persons are still unhappy with the compensation rate that was given to them since some were forced to accept unfair and inadequate compensation.
This was witnessed during engagement with the people of Kyakaboga village in Hoima district, as the residents were angry and unhappy because of the challenges that they are still going through.
Firstly, the houses that were handed over to the project-affected people do not match the ones they had before the relocation. This has compelled families with large numbers to build houses on the farm land for some children to reduce overcrowding.
However, the distancing of children from their parents’ homes and close supervision have caused them to misbehave and drop out of school.
Secondly, the whole of Kyakaboga village, which consists of about 1,300 residents, does not have any security personnel to whom the residents can run. Meaning that they are exposed to the risk of being attacked, a factor that is making them live in worry.
The government that sets up a police station within an area should ensure that some security personnel are deployed to safeguard such a large population.
Thirdly, the oil-affected people at Kyakaboga village do not have access to health care due to a lack of health facilities. This issue contradicts the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which stipulates that every person has a right to a standard of living satisfactory to their health and the well-being of their family, including access to a house, health care, and a right to security.
I therefore plead with the government and the relevant stakeholders to address the existing grievances of the oil-affected people.
They are human beings that deserve to be treated fairly, like other people. Addressing the existing grievances will create an enabling environment for the on-going oil project activities to go on smoothly with no resistance because no one hates development.
The author is Hildah Nsimiire, a human rights activist.
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