Oil PAPs face Land Board over compensation in Hoima

Ms Peace Muhumuza, a PAP from Kabaale village engages leaders on compensation while at Hoima district Youths Centre
  • You are too far from us when we need your assistance
  • Some of your issues are our issues that we want to be decentralisted for effectiveness and transparency
  • MPs blamed for failure to use their platform to advocate for the PAPs
  • PAPs might never regain their land

Some persons affected by the oil projects in Hoima District have had a heated dialogue with members of Hoima District Land Board and their supervisors over numerous issues relating to compensation and land security.

This was during their meeting held at the district Youths Centre organised by Hoima Caritas Development Organisation (HOCADEO) and Bunyoro Coalition on Oil and Sustainable Livelihoods (BUCOSA) in partnership with Hoima District Local Government.

Mr Julius Ocokdogu one of the Project Affected Persons (PAPs) from Kyakabooga Resettlement Village in Buseruka sub-county, Hoima district questioned how the district land board that passed the rates of crops failed to track the compensation process from the start to the end.

“We do not see you on ground yet we here know that you are the ones who pass the rates of our crops and temporary structures. We see people who do not want to negotiate until we are paid at the time they want and at the rates they have chosen,” said Mr Ocokdogu.

Ms Milias Nyangoma of Kabaale parish accused the district land board of being inconsiderate while passing the rates yet they are local people who know the durable value of crops like mangoes and jackfruits.

Ms Peace Muhumuza from Katooke village is convinced that the District Land Board is responsible for all forms of exploitation in relation to compensation alongside evictions by individuals.

“We do not even clearly understand your mandate and you are too high for the common person to reach. Come to the ground and sensitise people about the mandate of your office. We do not see your role while we are struggling to get timely, fair and adequate compensation,” she said.

The PAPs questioned the district leaders why the government protects land title holders against Bibanja owners well knowing that it is very expensive to acquire land titles and majority Ugandans sit on customary land.

“That is protection of the rich and those in power against the poor majority. No wonder there are illegal evictions and consequent land grabbing”, said Ms Phiona Alinda from Katooke village in Kabaale sub-county.

In response to the land title question, Mr George Amanya, the Secretary Hoima District Land Board, explained that the land title acquisition process that sounded very affordable amounting to Shs21,000 but the participants said that is not practical.  

Mr Robert Mwangusha, the Hoima District Senior Land Management Officer, acknowledged they have a couple of challenges including finance that restrict their community engagement activities.

He, however, said the door to the district land board office remains open for any inquiries about compensation rates and the plan is to improve dissemination of compensation rates to the sub-county level.

On the rates, Mr Mwangusha explained that although the District Land Board is responsible for the rates of crops and temporary structures, the office of the Chief Government Valuer reserves all the powers to increase or reduce them.

“Sometimes things change against our expectation but, of course, you have a right to crucify us,” he said.

Ms Evelyn Birungi, the Principal Assistant Secretary in the office of the Hoima Chief Administrative Officer, also confessed to the PAPs that some of their queries are the same issues local government leaders have for long been pushing to be decentralised for easy management in vain.

“Do not think that we do not care. We have also been agitating for the decentralisation of the oil industry operations to ensure that we are on the same page. Some of these questions like conflicting rates being applied cannot be answered by us because we are not in the field with them in the entire process,” she said.

Dr Charles Kajura, the Hoima District Production Officer.

On the land title acquisition, Ms Birungi encouraged the PAPs to struggle to acquire it for land security as there are all signs that the demand for land shall never drop sooner in the Albertine region.

”I am also aware of the corruption tendencies in land title acquisition that make it too complicated for the majority to acquire; but we need it. There is need for serious investigations against all those in the process of land title issuance”, she said.

She also challenged the community members to always stand out to advocate for their rights because some people disguise as government when they are pushing individual interests.

Mr Ocokdogu said that information from those that have acquired land titles shows that one needs to have at least Shs3m to complete the whole process or else you will spend years chasing for it.

Dr Charles Kajura, the Hoima District Production Officer, expressed worry that with the compensation complexities, many PAPs might never be landlords again.

“Of course, food security and the entire production is affected when people are being relocated and the compensation package cannot manage to replace the land lost,” he said.

The PAPs say the delayed compensation is making it more complicated to replace land given that the rates were even low.

Mr Jackson Mulindambura, the Hoima District Secretary for Production, blamed the Members of Parliament for neglecting their role of siting in district and sub-county councils from where they could pick some of these cries for redress.

“They have a platform that would discuss these issues of compensation but they seem not to care,” he said.

Ms Justine Akugizibwe working with HOCADEO under the Right to Sustainable Livelihoods Project, said the central purpose of the interface was to create a platform for the PAPs to hear from the duty bearers at the district level after they posed numerous questions to HOCADEO that it could not answer.

Audio: Akugizibwe on PAPs (English)

The PAPs invited were affected by oil pipelines, oil refinery project and tarmac roads.

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