Activists stormed the European Union (EU) offices in Kampala protesting the recent EU Parliament resolution to halt the Uganda- Tanzania’s proposed oil project on environmental and human rights concerns.
The activists also delivered a petition to the EU Ambassador, urging the EU to withdraw from Ugandan oil.
Uganda and Tanzania, according to group leader Frank Mawejje, are sovereign states that should be allowed to exploit their resources as they see fit.
“EU Parliament, stop ill-intentions on our oil,” one of the protestors’ placards read.
According to Mawejje, the EU has no mandate to monitor what Uganda does with its oil.
This claim, however, is false because the EU is mandated the monitoring of all its stakeholders, including TotalEnergies, which owns 62 percent of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project.
The EU parliament adopted a resolution on September 15 condemning human rights violations as well as major environmental and climate risks posed by the Tilenga and EACOP projects developed in Uganda and Tanzania by French oil major Total.
The EU Members of Parliament (MEPs) noted that over 100,000 people are being forcibly evicted to make way for this mega oil project, noting that they are being denied free use of their land – and thus their livelihood – even before receiving compensation.
The resolution also condemns the persecution and intimidation of civil society organisations and human rights defenders who dare to criticise the project, recalling that several activists have been arbitrarily detained, prompting several UN Special Rapporteurs to issue no less than four joint communications on the subject in the last two years.
Many have questioned why the protestors have not been arrested for inciting violence and/or engaging in subversive activities, despite the fact that the country has made a name for itself in dispersing protests, particularly those at foreign embassies.
Police were called in to help calm the situation, and by the time this article was published, the EU offices had been cleared.
Recall, EU resolution on EACOP continues to elicit mixed reactions from the public, with some in favour of the project and others – primarily environmentalists – opposed.
However, President Museveni assured Ugandans that nothing would halt work at EACOP and that the project would proceed as planned.