Uganda minister slams European Union criticism of mega oil project

Uganda’s energy minister on Tuesday slammed the European Parliament for seeking to delay a massive and controversial East African oil project over human rights violations and environmental concerns.

The project, which includes drilling in Murchison Falls, Uganda’s largest national park, has run into strong opposition from activists and environmental groups that say it threatens the region’s fragile ecosystem and the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people.

Students in Kampala, Uganda, on September 29, 2022 hold placards as they march to the European Union mission offices to deliver a petition against the European Union parliament resolution asking its members not to support the East Africa Oil Pipeline. (Photo by BADRU KATUMBA / AFP)

The European Parliament resolution adopted last month voiced concern over “human rights violations” in Uganda and Tanzania linked to investments in fossil fuel projects.

These included “wrongful imprisonment of human rights defenders, the arbitrary suspension of NGOs, arbitrary prison sentences and the eviction of hundreds of people from their land without fair and adequate compensation”.

Meanwhile, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has vowed to proceed with the project regardless of the EU resolution.

France’s TotalEnergies and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation signed a $10-billion agreement earlier this year to develop Ugandan oilfields and ship the crude through a 1,445-kilometre pipeline to Tanzania’s Indian Ocean port of Tanga.