EAST AFRICA: The long-awaited moment for the people affected by the East African Crude Oil Pipeline has come after the EACOP Company gave a timeline to start and complete the compensation.
According to Martin Tiffen, the General Manager-EACOP, they expect the compensation process to take four months starting this March. According to Tiffen, they expect the last person to get compensation by the end of June this year for the pipeline construction to start.
In response to queries raised by the PAPs, Tiffen was responding to queries through the Civic Response on Environment and Development-CRED in a letter dated February 11, 2022. Appeals for compensation have been at the centre of every discussion on the pipeline project for close to three years since the valuation process was completed by New Plan Ltd.
There have also been a number of protests among PAPs and local leaders in the Greater Masaka region, where the pipeline runs through five districts: Rakai, Kyotera, Lwengo, Sembabule, and Gomba.
Bashir Twesigye, the Legal Advisor for CRED, says they held a meeting with officials from Total Uganda, Total France, and EACOP over the various grievances, mainly compensation.
He goes on to say that they kept their decision to add a 15% increase for the properties and a 30% increase for the delays.
The compensation plan has piqued the interest of PAPs who have already opened accounts with Centennial Bank.However, some of those with land cases in court are worried that the compensation process may fail to consider them if the court proceedings take a long time.
Joyce Nabulime, one of the paps in Rakai district, says that there is a court case on her land that has been going on for 8 years. She says that the case may not be resolved by the compensation time.
Still, Sulaina Nambabaali, a pipeline monitor from Lwanda sub-county, says that the compensation period may be delayed due to a lack of letters of administration for the families of the deceased PAPs.
However, Twesigye explains that any land matter in court concerning the PAPs equally concerns the government and Total or EACOP Company since they cannot use the land before compensating the PAPs.
He adds that since the pap is in the right of way of the pipeline, the government and total have to intervene to expedite court processes to allow the project to continue.