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District Security Committee Bans Grazing, Cultivation on Oil Refinery Land

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Yosam Tumwebaze, the Hoima Resident District Commissioner-RDC who doubles as the Hoima District Security Committee chairperson told Uganda Radio Network that they have banned pastoralists and cultivators from using the land.
Construction work underway at Hoima International Airport that is situated on the same piece of land in Kabaale Parish in Hoima district.Photo by Emmanuel Okello.

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Hoima District Security Committee has banned the grazing of animals and cultivation on the land earmarked for the oil refinery in Kabaale parish in Kabaale sub-county. In 2012, the government acquired 29 square kilometres of land in Kabaale parish for the construction of the oil refinery.

The government relocated more than 7,000 people from 14 villages that make up the parish in preparation for the civil works. The proposed project comprises an industrial park, international airport, storage facilities for crude oil and final products, transmission hub, logistics warehousing, offices, petrochemical industries and associated facilities among others.

Construction of the Hoima International airport is currently ongoing on the same piece of land. However, some livestock farmers and cultivators had invaded part of the land to graze animals and cultivate crops. The residents adjacent to the oil refinery land also started burning charcoal on the same piece of land. 

Yosam Tumwebaze, the Hoima Resident District Commissioner-RDC who doubles as the Hoima District Security Committee chairperson told Uganda Radio Network that they have banned pastoralists and cultivators from using the land.

According to Tumwebaze, his office is also investigating some officials whose particulars have been concealed for fear of jeopardizing investigations accused of hiring the government land to the herdsmen and cultivators, a thing he says is criminal. He has since ordered top police and UPDF commanders in the area to ensure that no illegal activity takes place on the government land.

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Tumwebaze says that because of the illegal activities on the oil refinery land, the cultivators and herdsmen had started clashing for space. Hassan Kugonza, the Kabaale LC 3 Chairperson, says the security committee has taken a wise decision to suspend all illegal activities on the land since the pastoralists and cultivators had started clashing.

A cattle keeper told URN on condition of anonymity that they hired part of the land from someone he didn't mention.  In February 2018, violent clashes erupted between the pastoralists and Alur cultivators on the same piece of land.  

The cultivators accused the herdsmen of grazing animals on their crops. The Alur cultivators reportedly attacked the pastoralists leading to clashes in, which six people were injured and ten cows were killed. Some local leaders in the area were accused of hiring the oil refinery land to cultivators at between Shillings 100, 000 and 120, 000 per acre annually.