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Bunyoro MPs Visit Refinery Affected Persons in Hoima

Several Members of Parliament from Bunyoro have visited the refinery affected persons in Hoima following an outcry that they were not adequately compensated.
Some of the houses constructed by the Government in Buseruka Sub county, Hoima District.

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Several Members of Parliament from Bunyoro have visited the refinery affected persons in Hoima following an outcry that they were not adequately compensated. 

The team of legislators led by Buyaga West MP Bernabas Tinkasimire on Friday met the refinery-affected women of Kabaale parish, Buseruka sub-county, Hoima district. The meeting took place at Nyahaira Primary School.

The women backed by their husbands expressed displeasure with the way the government is trying to resettle them after asking them to vacate their land to pave way for the construction of the refinery.

The women claim the resettlement and compensation have not been in compliance with the Resettlement Action Plan drawn by Strategic Friends International in 2012.

The Ministry of Energy hired Strategic Friends International Limited to draw a resettlement action plan to pave way for the acquisition of the over 29-square-kilometre land. The resettlement was supposed to cost over 74 billion shillings. 

Government recently commissioned and handed over 46 newly constructed houses as part of the resettlement but most of the beneficiaries said they accepted the houses reluctantly.

MP Tinkasimire, also Bunyoro Parliamentary Group Chairperson, told URN he doubts whether the houses cost between 150 and 200 million shillings to build.

He said the houses are too small and constructed like an urban setting with very limited space and yet the government had previously agreed to construct the houses at each of the affected person's plots.

Tinkasimire said he and his colleagues plan to petition Parliament to constitute a committee to probe the resettlement of refinery affected persons. They also want the committee to find out whether there was value for money in the housing project.

Others on the team are women MPs Tophas Kaahwa for Hoima District, Helen Kahunde for Kiryandongo district and Norah Bigirwa Nyendwoha for Buliisa district.

Housewives of some of the affected persons in July wrote to their Members of Parliament requesting them to find solutions to what they called depressing conditions they are living in. The letter was written by African Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO), at the refinery-affected women's request.

AFIEGO has been at loggerheads with the Ministry of Energy over the resettlement of the Refinery affected persons.

The sacked Energy Ministry Permanent Secretary, Dr. Stephen Isabaliija, early this month accused AFIEGO of inciting the affected persons to reject the resettlement package offered by the government.

AFIEGO Executive Director, Dickens Kamugisha, however denied that they were inciting the affected persons. He insists that the government has for the last six years negated on its part by failure to fulfill what was outlined in the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP)

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Energy State Minister, Engineer Simon D'ujanga, while commissioning the 46 housing units, promised the government would fulfill all the promises as outlined in the resettlement plan.

But Kamugisha wonders why it has taken the government six years to resettle the people who accepted to pave way for the refinery project.

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Government plans to construct a refinery and airport on the land located in Kabaale, Hoima.