The Government of Uganda acquired 2,957 hectares of land in Kabaale Parish, Busekera Sub-County, Hoima District for development of a petro-based industrial park, referred to as Kabaale Industrial Park. The phased project includes: Uganda’s second international airport, crude oil export pipeline hub, oil refinery, warehousing and logistics, polymer and fertiliser industries and agro-processors. The site is on the shore of Lake Albert and near oil fields in the Albertine Graben Region. In 2012 the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development released a draft map showing the area earmarked for the project, listing 13 affected villages: Kyapaloni, Nyamasoga, Bukona A, Bukona B, Kayeera, Nyahaira, Kitegegwa, Kigaaga B, Katooke, Kitemba, Kabaale A, Kabaale B and Nyakasinini. A Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) was conducted by a Ugandan firm, Strategic Friends International, and completed in July 2012. By 2014 only 52 per cent of the 7,118 affected people had been compensated for acquisition of their land. A report by the Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) documented two years of human rights abuses. People who asked for relocation or rejected inadequate compensation were left languishing in ‘ghost villages’, suffering food shortages with little or no access to clean water, schools, health care. By April 2015, 670 property owners were still awaiting compensation, and 42 of them were disputing the low rates that had been offered. In April 2015 93 families who opted for relocation rather than compensation were still waiting land that was promised to them. They remained stranded, in desperate need of shelter, still lacking access to clean water as boreholes had broken down and acutely short of food because they were unable to grow crops. In October 2015, 60 affected families demonstrated against the government’s failure to relocate them, three years after acquiring their land. They marched 50 kilometres to Hoima town, where they presented a petition demanding immediate action. Socio-economic impacts of oil development: A 2016 paper on the socio-economic effects of the oil industry in Hoima, by Miriam Kyomugasho, documented many shortcomings in the resettlement plan. The 93 families who had opted for relocation were still not resettled. They had attempted all available channels to seek redress, including petitioning the Ugandan president, to no avail. Compensation for the 1,126 households that opted for cash was insufficient to purchase land equivalent to what they had given up, a situation exacerbated by high land appreciation rates. People who remained in Kabaale, 132 families, lacked basic amenities like clean water, schools and markets. There were specific impacts on women. Denied rights to own land, some women receiving compensation for land to farm ended up landless and homeless. Family structures were fractured by the scattering of people and some husbands abandoned their wives and children after receiving compensation. A multitude of factors had eroded food security. People awaiting resettlement were prevented from using their land for perennial crops and the short-term crops they planted were often eaten by wild animals that had taken over vacated areas. Farmers who had sold surplus food crops had reduced incomes. Staple food prices rose and with local markets closed people had to travel long distances to buy food. Most fishing activities had ceased as waters came under control of oil companies.. In May 2017 Christopher Opio - a resident of Kyapaloni village and general secretary of Oil Refinery Residents Association (ORRA), formed to address problems caused by compulsory land acquisition - wrote a letter in response to media reports that the state minister for planning, David Bahati, was defending a government budget request for the proposed airport and wanted to begin works to prepare for construction. Opio wrote that beginning work for the airport would worry the 83 families the government had yet to relocate and ‘create panic in the 27 families which justly refused the low compensation government offered them’. People’s gardens had been destroyed by previous activities by contractors for the proposed airport. Contractors had destroyed crops and not compensated them. Opio appealed to the government to compensate and relocate people before using land for the airport. On 10th October 2017, ahead of a visit to Hoima by Uganda President Museveni and Tanzania President Magufuli, ORRA wrote a letter to the Inspector General of Police stating that they would hold a peaceful demonstration, and be willing to face arrest, to remind the president that oil infrastructure should not be developed at the expense of human rights to fair compensation.. Conflict between farmers and pastoralists: A chapter by Pablo Pereira de Mattos in a book published in 2018: ‘ “I was better off without the oil”: Oil-related displacement in Western Uganda’, draws attention to oil development and evictions leading to changes in use of common land. Respect for common land decreased and people began putting up fences and saying it is private land. One consequence of fencing land was to restrict the movement of grazing cattle, which in turn led to conflict between people. Clashes broke out between farmers and cattle pastoralists on the oil refinery land in February 2018. Cultivators in Kitegwa village accused herdsmen of grazing in their gardens and destroying their crops. A serious fight between farmers and pastoralists left six people injured and at least 10 cows were killed. Seven people were arrested. Similar clashes had occurred in April 2017, in Kitegwa and three other villages.. In April 2018 Hoima Resident District Commissioner John Steven Ekoom said hundreds of animals were hampering airport construction works, blocking the routes of trucks carrying construction materials. Authorities in Hoima ordered the arrest of pastoralists in the oil refinery area. Ekoom said: "I have directed a joint operation between UPDF [Uganda People’s Defense Forces] and Police to arrest any cattle keeper interfering with oil and gas projects, starting tomorrow.” By 3rd May 2018, following a directive by President Museveni, UPDF had taken control of the oil refinery. The previous week security operators had forcibly evicted a group of herdsmen and cultivators following expiry of an ultimatum ordering them to vacate the land. UPDF had deployed a battalion at Nyahaira primary school to avert further encroachment on oil refinery land by herdsmen and cultivators.Unfair compensation and a local resource curse: In January 2018 a group of people affected by the oil refinery project signed for compensation, but expressed regret that the government had used the outdated 2012 compensation rates. Those who had opted for cash compensation in the six years since initiation of the refinery project had, according to Earth Finds, endured ‘untold suffering’. The compensation value, which should have been higher than the value of the land acquired and developments upon it, had not been considered. Moreover, a disturbance allowance of 30 per cent for compulsory land acquisition had never been paid. This allowance would have enabled affected people to build larger accommodation for their extended families. Sandra Atusinguza, a field officer for AFIEGO, called for investigation of non-payment of disturbance allowance, provision of land titles for all relocated families and additional compensation that should have been paid as the land sale was involuntary and caused the loss of cultural facilities. Affected families had 13 churches, a mosque and a market. None of these were in place in the resettlement site, Kyakaboga, where the replacement primary school had still not been handed over. Families had lived less than a year in small government-built houses with leaking ceilings and naked wirings on walls which had already developed cracks. Atusinguza also called for construction of alternative water pipelines from nearby rivers as water from the borehole serving Kyakaboga was hard and salty.. A paper by Tom Ogwang, Frank Vanclay and Arjan van den Assem, ‘Rent-Seeking Practices, Local Resource Curse, and Social Conflict in Uganda’s Emerging Oil Economy’, examines many negative consequences of oil exploitation on local people in the Albertine Graben Region. Research conducted between December 2017 and March 2018 showed that a resource cruse was evident, especially in Kabaale Parish where people were displaced for the refinery and airport. Oil development was negatively affecting other sectors of the economy; there was a marked decline in non-oil activities. Oil development impacts included conflict, food insecurity, corruption, and social polarization, partly due to an influx of people with many different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds. Land fragmentation had occurred and many instances of land grabbing came to light during public hearings and testimonies. One example was acquisition of 400 hectares of land by a former Kabaale District surveyor, which he subsequently sold to the Uganda Land Commission for a considerable profit. A number of land owners had benefitted from speculation, reaping huge returns from land sale, whereas project-affected people had not. Many NGOs, cultural, academic and religious institutions had supported affected people in their efforts to receive fair treatment including adequate compensation. The RAP recognised fishing as an importance livelihood, particularly for women and youth, yet there were no plans to develop alternative livelihoods.. Lost livelihoods and a long-delayed court case The Chair of the Oil Refinery Resettlement Committee, Richard Orebi, spoke about resettlement in Kyakaboga costing him and other affected persons their livelihoods. They had asked the government to construct houses on their respective pieces of land. Instead all the houses were crammed together in what officials called a ‘satellite city’, far away from the plots of land allocated for cultivating crops and rearing animals. This ‘absurd’ urban setting had forced him and many other people to sell off his livestock, such goats, pigs and poultry, that previously helped them supplement their meagre incomes.. On 29th March 2019, following delayed hearing of the oil refinery-affected people by the Kampala High Court, Uganda’s Principal Judge, Dr. Yorokamu Bamwine, directed the Land Division of the High Court to fast-track the case. In a letter dated 28th March refinery affected people had informed him that 20 women and 10 children, representing the rights of 7,118 people, would demonstrate, camping at his chambers until the High Court began hearing their case without further delay. They had filed a civil suit in March 2014 seeking the court’s intervention to stop violation of their rights to fair compensation, saying abuse of their rights began in June 2013 with undervaluation of their land.. Lack of jobs for locals in airport construction: Contractors began fending off the site for the airport, re-named Hoima Airport, clearing bush and constructing access roads in early 2018. In February 2018 a crisis meeting between officials, SBC Uganda (the firm contracted to construct the airport) and SCO, a company contracted to build a road, sought to resolve an outcry among locals in the Bunyoro region who said they were being denied jobs. The meeting followed a demonstration by local people who said SBC Uganda had failed to offer them employment opportunities. Reports indicated that over 400 people had applied for jobs at SNC Uganda but were not considered. Locals accused the airport contractor of importing semi and unskilled labour from outside Bunyoro. The meeting agreed that the contractor would reserve at least 30 per cent of jobs for local communities and a database of local suppliers would be formulated to improve opportunities for supplying goods and services. But in April residents claimed that in spite of the intervention they were still being neglected in recruitment offers with SBC Uganda declining to offer them jobs as had been agreed and failing to respond to repeated calls. Residents also accused SBC of failing to construct boreholes at Kitegwa, Kabaale and Nyamasoga villages as had been agreed. Cabinet Minister of Works and Transport, Monica Azuba Ntege, ordered SBC to employ more people from around the Hoima district, and reserve at least 30 per cent of the jobs for host communities. Residents also accused SBC of failing to construct boreholes in the villages of Kabaale, Kitegwa and Nyamasoga that it had promised. Tensions over lack of employment for locals in Hoima Airport flared up again in December 2018. Locals accused SBC Uganda of deliberately locking them out or oil-related jobs while it was considering young people from other parts of the country. A man from Nyamasoga was not given a casual labourer job even though he had received recommendations from local leaders. Another Nyamasoga resident with a truck driving permit applied for a driving job but his application was turned down. There were also claims that SBC Uganda was failing to implement local content policy requirements put in place to enable locals to benefit from the project. SBC Uganda’s Human Resources Manager said the company was committed to ensuring that 30 per cent of its workforce consisted of local people but said the majority of them did not have the required skills and experience. Recently, people from local villages had ambushed company vans transporting SBC workers to the airport construction site, pelting them with stones. Police from the Albertine region intervened and began escorting vans to the site. High security and a workers’ strike: Security at Hoima Airport construction site was ramped up in May 2018; the army and police were brought in to maintain general security and surveillance against theft with day and night patrols. The security resolution followed theft of several jerry cans of fuel at the airport construction site and there were transfers of senior police due to allegations that they gave protection to the fuel thieves.. Police were deployed at Hoima Airport on 16th May 2018 in response to a workers’ strike. Workers protested over claims of illegal dismissal of some of their colleagues, being subjected to a harsh working environment by SBC Uganda management and non-payment of salaries for two months. An Albertine region police spokesperson said the deployment was to bloc workers from destroying airport property. A ‘heavy police deployment’ was reported. Spice FM reported that the striking workers demanding better working conditions accused SBC Uganda management of unfair dismissal and use of abusive language and called for the sacking of the assistance project manager they accused of mistreating them, publishing photographs of a ‘peaceful protest’ by over 250 workers. Hoima Resident District Commissioner John Steven Ekoom clamped down on the striking workers, ordering police to investigate seven people he called “ringleaders” whom he accused of sabotaging the airport project. He also accused the workers of clandestinely mobilizing their colleagues to continue the strike even though their grievances had been addressed following a crisis meeting with SBC Uganda and workers’ representatives. Disregarding rights to free speech he said: “Some of them were even trying to get in touch with the UK Export funders in England on phone about the strike on 15th and 16th May.” Ekoom also demonstrated disregard for alleged strike leaders’ employment rights, saying: “I propose action be taken by suspending all those culprits with immediate effect.”. In September 2018, as construction of oil infrastructure progressed, it became evident that relocation of graves in several villages could delay construction of Hoima Airport. A spokesperson for SBC Uganda, Amos Muriisa, said: “The issue of graves is coming and it’s serious. The affected people were compensated in 2012 and agreed to move to other areas. What they got, maybe, was not enough to enable them relocate the remains of their beloved ones.” Inadequate water supply in the resettlement site, Kyakaboga, continued. People had been informed that piped water would be provided, yet boreholes that had been promised had still not been constructed and all the residents agreed that the existing water reservoirs could not sustain them. A health centre had not yet been constructed so residents had to travel 5 kilometers to access medical care.. Project-affected persons who had opted for resettlement in Kyakaboga continued their attempts to seek legal redress for government failures to restore their previous living conditions. At a hearing held on 4th March 2019, their most recent appearance at Kampala High Court, plaintiffs informed the judge of under-compensation and poor living conditions with small houses in a camp-like settlement, no lighting and limited access to water. Lack of water was one reason for poor sanitation, along with bad smells from pit latrines close to houses. The chairperson of affected residents said eight families had abandoned their houses because of sanitation related issues. In an attempt to expedite the case the judge hearing the case, Lady Justice Cornelia Sabitti, offered to visit refinery affected people in Kyakaboga.. The world’s longest heated oil pipeline In April 2018 government officials painted red crosses on five houses in the Hoima District village of Kyakatemba. The government was set to take about half of the land in the area for the world’s longest heated oil pipeline. A woman standing outside one of the marked houses with her grandchildren said she was unsure whether to plant for the next season as she might be relocated.. The East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) is a 1,443 kilometer oil export pipeline being developed to transport oil from Kabaale Industrial Park to the port of Tanga on the coast of Tanzania. In August 2018 it was reported that Kyakatemba residents feared losing land after the government demarcated about half of the land in the area for the pipeline. A farmer, James Mubona, said land feeding his children and grandchildren would be lost and expressed concern about the impact on the economy of the region which is dependent upon farming. Energy ministry spokesperson, Jusuf Masaba, said the pipeline route had been mapped out with plans to compensate and resettle people at an advanced stage and that the government was acquiring farmland, not houses, as there were no settlements in its path.. On 28th May 2019 a coalition of 21 African and international organizations, including AFIEGO, 350.org, Inclusive Development International (IDI) and Bank Track, wrote a letter calling on South Africa’s Standard Bank and Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp (SMBC) to withdraw from their role as lead arrangers for EACOP, advising the Ugandan and Tanzanian governments and arranging USD 2.5 billion in finance loans for completion of the USD3.5 billion project. The letter highlighted risks of the project including displacement of entire communities in the oil extraction zone and pipeline corridor, impacting up to 14,500 farms in the Tanzanian stretch, threats to fresh water sources including Lake Victoria, severe degradation of the habitats of elephants, eastern chimpanzees and lions. The letter also emphasized the climate impacts; the 216,000 barrels of crude oil per day expected to be carried by the pipeline is expected to result in CO2 emissions of more than 33 million tonnes annually, significantly greater than the combined emissions of Uganda and Tanzania.. Feeder pipeline and road to Hoima Airport In January 2019 AFIEGO reported that eight refinery-affected families who were relocated to Kyakaboga faced being displaced again as Total E&P acquired land for feeder pipelines. The people were without land titles and therefore at risk of receiving low compensation. They had been demanding land titles since 2014 and repeated their demands in a letter to the Hoima RDC (Resident District Commissioner).. In April 2019 representatives from AFIEGO, National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) and other civil society organizations visited a resident of Kigaga A village in Hoima, Mr. Jorum Basiima, who feared that he may be unable to provide food for his children due to construction of a road to Hoima Airport. Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) had imposed a cut-off date for payment of compensation on 2.5 acres of his land. Cut-off dates discourage communities from growing crops because they lose money invested in seeds and cultivation. Mr. Basiima was one of a number of families who were told they should not plant perennial crops after the cut-off date and faced food insecurity as a result of the road project. In his garden holes that had been cut in the ground for planting cassava tubers were empty.