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CSOs Decry Intimidation of EACOP Affected Persons in Masaka

Diana Nabiruma, the Communication Officers at the Africa Institute for Energy Governance-AFIEGO, indicates that besides anonymous persons cautioning them against engaging project affected persons and documenting their concerns, they have lately started registering cases of suspicious people trying to disrupt their community meetings.
Diana Nabiruma and other members of CSOs addressing the media in Masaka

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Civil Society Organizations-CSOs advocating for the promotion of Human Rights and Environmental protection in the East African Crude Oil Pipeline-EACOP project have decried acts of intimidation. 

Addressing a press conference on Friday in Masaka district at the launch of a report on the social-economic impacts of the EACOP for the Masaka sub-region, the civil society actors under the coalition of Community Transformation Foundation Network-COTFONE said they are registering threats targeting their works and people affected by the EACOP. 

Diana Nabiruma, the Communication Officers at the Africa Institute for Energy Governance-AFIEGO, indicates that besides anonymous persons cautioning them against engaging project affected persons and documenting their concerns, they have lately started registering cases of suspicious people trying to disrupt their community meetings.   

Nabiruma says that the latest incident occurred in Lwanda Sub-county, Rakai district where someone claiming to be from the Ministry of Energy disrupted a community engagement after he accused the CSO’s of using such meetings to incite the affected persons to raise against the project.  

She explains that such threats are choreographed by people who intend to stifle the voice of civil society organizations and eventually the project affected persons who would speak up against the injustices that occur during the project execution. 

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Yisito Kayinga Muddu, the regional coordinator of COTFONE says they have also registered incidences of security operatives reaching out to some project-affected persons to coarse them sign assessment forms despite being undervalued.   He alleges that some of the project affected persons are also being threatened to stop raising their voices on concerns about the project concerns and to de-associate themselves from CSO’s involved in community advocacy with intentions of framing them.

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Meanwhile, Nabiruma indicates that they have generated a brief about these threats and other social concerns which they intend to share with the Parliament Committee on Natural Resources and Petroleum Authority of Uganda to seek administrative interventions.  

The concerns from the CSOs come as Ugandan and Tanzanian leaders, and the technocrats are in the final stages of signing their final investment agreement on the East African Crude Oil Pipeline project.  

But Muhammad Nsubuga, the Greater Masaka Regional Police Spokesperson says they are yet to receive complaints of threats from both CSOs and project-affected persons.

He says their offices in areas where complaints are said to have been cited are going to study the allegations and ensure the safety of all persons.