Ugandans are protesting the controversial European Union (EU) parliamentary resolution to block the construction of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).
The concerned citizens led a procession of motorcycles with riders holding placards showing dissatisfaction with the EU offices located at Crested Towers on Hannington Road, in Kampala.
Some of the placards read; ‘EU stop neo-colonialism and imperialism on Uganda’s oil projects’, ‘Our pipelines are safe EU, stand aside’, ‘EU Uganda Mujiveeko oil kyabuggaga kyafe’ among others
Frank Mawejje the group leader said Uganda’s economic decisions are independent and the EU should not interfere. He said that before a final investment decision was made in February 2022, a thorough environmental assessment was done on the ground and affected families approached for peaceful compensation.
He pointed the finger at Total Energies, a France-based company that holds the highest stake in the deal, standing at 62 percent of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project.
Last week, the European Union Parliament criticized the EACOP project on grounds that it violates human rights and environmental concerns.
The EU legislator Parliament recommended the project be halted for one year and that alternative routes be established that would not affect as many people and the ecosystem.
The 1400km East African Crude Oil Pipeline project is largely funded by France-based Total Energies, Uganda National Oil Company, UNOC, and Petroleum Authority of Uganda.
President Yoweri Museveni last week responded to the EU resolution saying he considers the safety of the ecosystem and the population.
After telling his ruling NRM party caucus as much at Kololo Independence Grounds on Friday, the President took to Twitter to tell the country that the under-fire French oil giant Total Energies SE—the lead on the EACOP—is contractually bound on the $3.8b (Shs14 trillion) project.
He further stated that the government would look around for other investors to work with if Total succumbed to pressure.
"We should remember that Total Energies convinced me about the Pipeline idea; if they choose to listen to the EU Parliament, we shall find someone else to work with," he said, assuring all that whatever happens, Uganda will have her oil flowing by 2025.
Parliament of Uganda also condemned the EU decision. In a statement released by Thomas Tayebwa the Deputy Speaker for Parliament, he stated that over 70% of the persons affected by land acquisition for the projects have been compensated or resettled and are undergoing livelihood improvement projects in agriculture, financial literacy, and vocational skills, among others.
He further stated that efforts to fully compensate all project-affected persons are ongoing, with cooperation from the local communities and leaders.