Oil money glorifies churches on refinery land

Ernest Kiiza, State Minister for Bunyoro Affairs and Bishop Samuel Kahuma commissioning a church in Buseruka Sub-county, Hoima District on Thursday.

Eight years later, government has finally constructed two new churches as part of its implementation of the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) for the oil refinery Project Affected Persons (PAPs) in Buseruka Sub-county, Hoima District.

Construction work is the continuous implementation of the RAP for more than 10,000 people affected by the Kabaale Oil Refinery.

Construction of the Wambabya Church of Uganda at Kigaaga B Village and St Francis Catholic Church at Nyakasinini Village was contracted by Savannah Engineering Works Ltd under the supervision of New Plan. The project that began in 2015 cost Shs3b.

The two churches are a compensation of Kyapaloni Church of Uganda and Nyahaira Catholic Church that were affected by the mega oil project.

In a speech presented by Bunyoro Affairs State Minister, Ernest Kiiza, Energy and Mineral Development Minister, Irene Muloni described the handover ceremony of the churches to the community as a big stride towards the completion of the implementation of the RAP. The ceremony took place on Thursday.

She said government was determined to ensure that the oil and gas industry progresses steadily and benefits all nationals. According to her, government’s resolve to improve infrastructure in the Albertine Belt, is geared towards fostering development among citizens through participation in the oil and gas sector.

“More investment should be expected in health, education, transport and energy sectors since they are key drivers of sustainable development,” she added.

Haney Malinga, the Director of Petroleum at the Energy Ministry said, the launch was a continuation of the RAP implementation programme.

He said government remained with the construction of the access road to Kyakabooga where the PAPs who chose relocation from the refinery land were resettled.

Other social amenities include a community centre, a police post and a market. He said government had already constructed Nyahaira and Kyapaloni primary schools besides the renovation and expansion of Buseruka primary school and Buseruka Health Centre 3 and Kabaale Health Centre 2.

Pius Wakabi Rujumba, the Bugahya County Member of Parliament hailed the government for fulfilling the promises in the RAP in phases. He said this was an assurance that the affected communities will realise all that government promised.

The handover ceremony for the churches built at the southern boundary of the refinery land, was attended by clerics from the two religious denominations, government dignitaries and implementing partners.

The Bishop of Bunyoro-Kitara Diocese, the Rt. Rev. Samuel Kahuma and his counterpart of Hoima Catholic Diocese, Vincent Kirabo esteemed the ceremony.

Kahuma said the construction of the church buildings poses a challenge to Christians to get further dedicated to God. He revealed plans of elevating the Anglican Church to a parish status as long as the Christians worked hard to fulfil other spiritual related requirements.

In a speech delivered by the Hoima Catholic Diocesan Chancellor, Rev Fr Dominic Ndugwa, Bishop Vincent Kirabo said the Catholic Church was humbled by the contribution towards the spiritual development of the diocese.

However, he asked the government to furnish the church with furniture though it was not part of the church compensation package. Kirabo also asked people to work towards improving their household income so that they can match with the rapid development of infrastructure being witnessed.

“Imagine how one can come to such a beautiful church on a bare foot. We need to work hard and move with the standard,” he said.

The government of Uganda acquired a 29-square-kilometre piece of land for the construction of a mini oil refinery. This will refine part of the 6.5 billion barrels of crude oil so far discovered beneath the Albertine Graben.

Government has since 2012 been working to realise full implementation of the RAP. The process looks needing some more years to its margins.

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