By Simon Turibamwe

High Court in Kampala has set an ultimatum of up to June 2019 to have concluded a case filed against the government by people affected by the oil refinery in Hoima district. Last week the petitioners who are unified by Oil Refinery Residents Association requested court presided over by Lady Justice Cornelia Sabiiti, that their case be given an expedited hearing because they travel long distance making it impossible for the elderly, women and the poor who spend their hard earned coins to attend court sessions in Kampala. The judge accepted the request for expedited hearing, promised a locus visit and an ultimatum of June to have the case concluded. The judge made the decision to expedite the hearing after the petitioners submitted evidence that they travel from as far as Hoima, Kiryndongo and other districts to Kampala every time their case is fixed for hearing. The petitioners led by John Bosco Wandera also told court that they were displeased by the government constructing for them compacted houses in a camp like settlement. In 2012 the government acquired over 29 sq. km of land for Uganda’s proposed refinery in Bunyoro which led to the eviction of former occupants. The former occupants have since complained that they were under-compensated and also resettled unwillingly in different parts of Bunyoro including Kyakaboga and Buseruka. Those who were settled in Kyakaboga and Buseruka camps claim that the area is not suitable for human settlement because it is hygienically poor with a deadly stink from 46 pit latrines that are squeezed within main houses and kitchens. “The latrines are very close to the kitchen and houses making the settlement unhygienic. Some of us have abandoned those houses in Kyakaboga because of the worrying situation,” Wandera told court. Wandera went on to tell court that the Refinery affected people together with the committee on Resettlement Action Plan rejected the land in Kyakaboga because families wanted to be bought for land on a case-by-case basis as committed to by Ministry of Energy in the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) report of 2012. He added that both the committee and the refinery-affected people, told Ministry of Energy that the camp-settlement in Kyakaboga uninhabitable because of poor sanitation but government went ahead to settle them their forcefully. They want court to compel government and reconsider their compensation and give them land titles in Buseruka. For comments, call or text us on 0752510225.

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