KAMPALA: The president of the opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) party, Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, has welcomed the resolution of the European Union (EU) Parliament seeking to block the construction of the oil pipeline by Uganda and Tanzania.
Addressing journalists at the NUP headquarters in Kampala on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, Bobi Wine said he is happy that the EU Parliament raised important issues of human rights and the environment as the key reasons for stopping the pipeline project.
This is because, he said, his party has been raising similar issues, which have been ignored.
“I want to welcome and thank the EU Parliament for the resolution they passed deterring the oil companies from supporting the EACOP project. We are glad they cited the issues of gross Human Rights abuse and environmental abuse, among others,” he said.
“For a long time, we have been calling upon the international communities to stop being the wind under Museveni’s wing. We have seen a new wave of abductions and gross human rights abuses, and we expect everybody to raise their voices on that. No wonder the EU Parliament has cited gross Human Rights abuses, among others,” he added.
An online petition to counter the EU legislator’s resolution garnered the intended 7000 signatures in three days by Monday.
The petition campaign called by a development charity, the Western Youth Forum, has attracted the signatures of various levels of Ugandans including Ruth Nankabirwa, the Minister for Energy and Mineral Development, and Elly Karuhanga of the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum among others. Others are top officials at the Petroleum Authority of Uganda and Uganda National Oil Company, UNOC, MPs, and others.
But Bobi Wine accused the Museveni government of trying to paint a clean picture of his rule.
“Museveni is very smart in painting a rosy picture of his rule. Museveni spends billions of taxpayer’s money in Europe and America, paying lobbyists to paint a glossy picture of his rule. We have heard Museveni say that that its his oil. That is not his oil. That is our oil,” he said.
“We welcome the EU Parliament Resolution, and we want even more. We have been calling for sanctions. I want to salute the diaspora team and all Ugandans that have added to our call. We took Museveni to the International Criminal Court. We look forward to a day when the ICC sanctions him and his son,” he added.
The EU MPs’ main resolution was to compel the governments of Uganda and Tanzania and the oil companies led by TotalEnergies of France, to halt the implementation of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline project for at least one year to find an alternative route that would not affect as many people and the ecosystem.
But the Petroleum Authority has allayed fears of massive gas emissions in the process of running the pipeline. “To minimize greenhouse gas emissions, EACOP will be powered by hydroelectricity from the National grid in Uganda and a solarization project has been inbuilt into the project in Tanzania,” says PAU in a statement.
On possible damage to the pipeline and hence oil leaks, PAU explained that a damage detection and prevention mechanism is being designed as part of the project. “To protect the pipeline from external damage, a fiber optic cable with intrusion detection capabilities will be installed along the pipeline to provide a warning to the operators and Government in case there is any excavation attempt within the right of way,” the statement says.