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9 Dec 2023

Africanews with AFP

Uganda: Inadequate compensation claims brought by EACOP project's affected people dismissed by local court

" Uganda: court rejects family claims related to TotalEnergies megaproject" 09 December 2023

The court in Hoima, a town near oil fields, ruled against 42 families claiming inadequate compensation, according to an activist from the Tasha Africa Research Institute, which is covering the villagers' legal costs.

"The ruling was in favor of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development," Abdul Musinguzi told AFP. "No further compensation is planned", he added. One of the plaintiffs, Jealousy Mugisa Mulimba, described the ruling as an "ambush". "We were given one day to prepare the case after receiving the summons on December 4," he said. "These are mostly poor, illiterate people. Only 12 people went to court today because the others couldn't afford the transport."

This vast project by the French group, which was the subject of a $10 billion investment agreement with Uganda, Tanzania, and the Chinese company CNOOC, calls for the drilling of 419 wells in western Uganda and the construction of a 1,443 km pipeline to link them to the Tanzanian coast. It is presented by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni as an economic boon for his landlocked country, where many inhabitants live in poverty. However, it is strongly opposed by environmental and human rights groups.The project and TotalEnergies are also the subject of a complaint in France for acts that, according to the associations, amount to "climaticide".