Persons affected by EACOP give government one month to resolve cases

Communities from the oil-affected districts have given government one month to handle their cases or else they will demonstrate.

The demand was made at a media briefing at Hotel Africana, where some of the projected affected persons expressed dismay at a recent French court ruling that quashed their concerns over the activities of Total.

Some of them filed cases in the High Court and in the Court of Appeal as far as 2014. Nine years later, many of the cases have not been heard while other cases have not been concluded.

The delay to get justice has left many of them in agony while others have had to endure financial hardships to make ends meet.  Some like the women and elderly have further been pushed into poverty.

“Within one month from to date, if the judiciary fails to respect the people’s constitutional rights such as a right to a speedy trial, hundreds of the oil-affected persons will walk from their villages and protest at the offices of the chief justice, deputy chief Justice, principal judge, minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Inspectorate of Government and other authorities,” said one of the affected person.

In 2014, about 7,000 people who were displaced by the government from Kabaale-Buseruka in Hoima to pave way for the construction of an international airport filed a case in the High Court of Uganda to compel government to pay them prompt, fair and adequate compensation.

In 2020, government sued nine Tilenga PAPs who refused low compensation that was being offered by TotalEnergies.

Total was acquiring land for an industrial area in Buliisa district on behalf of government.

Following filing of the aforementioned application by government, the judiciary quickly heard government’s case and on  April 30, 2021, the High Court ruled in favour of government.

Court allowed the government to deposit in court the unfair and inadequate compensation from Total that the nine Tilenga PAPs had rejected.

Dissatisfied with the ruling and with help from Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) and partners, the nine PAPs filed an appeal against the unfair judgement in 2021.

The appeal has never been fixed for hearing, nearly two years later.