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Natural Resource Departments Have no Funds to Monitor Pipeline Project

According to Godfrey Mutemba, the Lwengo District Natural Resources Officer, their departments don’t have a vote within the EACOP budget and are as such, incapable of following up on environment-related concerns that were indicated in the Environment Impact Assessment report.
Yisito Kayinga Muddu, the Coordinator- Community Transformation Foundation Network (COTFONE), explaining the plight of Natural Resources Departments due to lack of funds to monitor EACOP project.

Audio 4

The Natural Resources Officers in Lwengo, Kyotera, and Rakai District Local Governments have said they are failing to monitor the ongoing East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project activities due to lack of funds.

According to Godfrey Mutemba, the Lwengo District Natural Resources Officer, their departments don’t have a vote within the EACOP budget and are as such, incapable of following up on environment-related concerns that were indicated in the Environment Impact Assessment report.

Mutemba says that their departments need funds for capacity building, training, and transportation to supervise and make vital recommendations of the project activities.

//Cue in; “Ensonga evudeyo enyo eya…

Cue out….nga ebintu bino bikolebwa.”//

He noted that they have received a list of areas to monitor but still do not have funds to facilitate the environment and Community Development Officers (CDOs) at the district and sub-counties for the job. He adds that they need tools to aid their monitoring task after training them on what to do in the field to ensure the project activities do not endanger the environment and infringe on people’s rights.

//Cue in; “Sente zino nsinga zibeera…

Cue out…areas zetulina oku monitaringa.”//

Mutemba added that different district local governments do not have any means of transport to ensure effective monitoring of the project. He says that EACOP is a special project which requires unique interventions, yet right now they are only banking on the department’s limited resources to visit affected communities to meet the project affected people for interaction.

//Cue in; “Naye olwokuba nti…

Cue out…independent doing our work.”//

Sylvia Mirembe, the Rakai District Natural Resources Officer says that their current budget cannot support regular field visits to monitor the oil pipeline projects in the affected communities. According to Mirembe, they are sometimes picked by New Plan Company Ltd to accompany them to the field which compromises their independence.

New Plan was contracted by Total-Uganda to do the valuation exercise in the project affected communities. Mirembe noted that without budgets to monitor the pipeline activities, several eco-systems may perhaps be hindered and people’s rights violated unabetted.

However, Jamiru Kiyingi, the Kyotera District Natural Resources officer, explains that they have not received any funds for monitoring although they are hopeful that this will be addressed since the government promised to respond to their concerns anytime.

Civil society groups are equally concerned that if the local government departments are left out of the project, then human rights abuses and environmental degradation will be inevitable.  Yisito Muddu Kayinga, the Coordinator –Community Transformation Foundation Network, says that failure to include the Natural Resources departments into the EACOP budget may cost the communities and districts in the pipeline route and further appealed to the government to intervene.

//Cue in; “The Telenga, Kingfisher…

Cue out…wellbeing in danger.”//