Uganda: Total seeks govt.'s intervention in resolving communities' dispute over oil project's name
"Total asks govt to intervene in Tilenga project name wrangle"
Total E&P has written to the Ministry of Energy and National Environmental Management Authority (Nema), seeking intervention in a wrangle where two local communities are protesting against the current project name - Tilenga. The Tilenga project lies at the northern end of Lake Albert in Nwoya District and is part of Exploration Area 2 in Buliisa District. It comprises of eight oil fields with about 419 oil wells. However, locals, particularly the Bagungu and Acholi are facing off over the Tilenga name and want it dropped.
Mr Christopher Ocowun, the Total E&P public relations officer, told journalists during a media tour that they have written to the Ministry of Energy and Nema over the brewing tension to seek their guidance. “There are conflicts over the project name but all reports and findings during the public hearing held in November have been handed over to government. We are waiting for their feedback on whether to change the name or not,” he said.
Total E&P, Mr Ocowun said, had come up with the Tilenga name to give the two communities a unifying identity but has instead brewed controversy with the Bagungu, who are the majority in Buliisa, demanding that the project be renamed Bugungu. Dr Enoch Bigirwa, the Bagungu Community Association chairperson, said the Tilenga name has nothing to show that the Bugungu have been considered as part of the project, demanding that it be renamed. The Acholi on the other hand have threatened not to support the project should it be renamed. Ms Marion Adengo Muyobo, the Total E&P social affairs officer, warned that renaming the project will not be realistic since it covers areas that have other tribes such as Banyoro, Acholi and Alur. However, she urged government to convene a joint meeting to discuss the matter.