Kyotera Residents Allege Unfair Land Compensation for EACOP

kyotera residents allege unfair land compensation for eacop
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In a recent meeting held on October 22, 2023, in Bigada Village, Kakuuto Sub County, Kyotera District, residents affected by the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project alleged that they were coerced into surrendering their land for the project. During the meeting, they relayed their grievances to Mr. Mathias Mpuuga, the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament.

According to the residents, they were compelled to sign compensation documents, and the compensation they received did not match the size of the land taken from them. One resident, Mr. Cosmas Yiga, who owns more than five acres of land, rejected the compensation offer of Shs3 million from EACOP officials.

Mr. Yiga expressed, “I refused to sign the compensation papers and instead petitioned the office of the Leader of the Opposition to come and listen to our grievances.” He also advised other Project-Affected Persons (PAPs) not to sign away their land, though some disregarded his advice.

Another resident, Mr. Frank Ddungu, shared his experience of receiving only Shs300,000 in compensation for a 50 by 100ft piece of land. He explained, “When I refused the money, they threatened me that they would take the land forcefully, so I decided to sign the documents because the army was around, and I feared for my life.”

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Ms. Teddy Nakiryowa recounted that EACOP officials had initially marked out a portion of her land, but later returned and expanded the demarcations without her consent. She expressed her uncertainty, stating, “I do not know what to do because they [EACOP officials] returned and demarcated more land, leaving me with a small portion where my house is located.”

The residents accused Mr. Jude Ssali, the LCIII chairperson for Kakuuto, of being involved in a scheme to seize their land. Mr. Muhammad Ssengoba, a landlord, raised concerns, saying, “I wonder why they compensated tenants on my land and left out the landowner.”

However, Mr. Jude Ssali, who also serves as the Liaison Officer for EACOP in the district, refuted these claims, asserting that all PAPs willingly signed the compensation papers. He clarified, “It is true we rated the banana plantation at Shs33,000 per plant, but we later revised the rates to Shs83,000.” Additionally, he denied reports of forcibly taking land from PAPs.

Mr. Mpuuga questioned Mr. Ssali about his association with EACOP, saying, “Ssali has told me he gets an allowance whenever he moves with the EACOP team. This is very serious. He needs to think about the people who entrusted him with leadership.”

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