The former Prime Minister of Uganda, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda has told off the Parliament of the European Union to stop preaching to Uganda matters of human rights because the whole essence of the NRA/NRM government coming to power was to protect the rights of Ugandans.
While reacting to the recent resolutions of EU lawmakers to delay the development of the East African Crude Oil pipeline (EACOP), Dr Rugunda noted that Europeans and Americans are free to say what they want concerning Uganda’s Oil pipeline project but it will not stop the program from going on as planned.
“Our line of duty is to support the needs of Ugandans and I definitely agree with the President to support and finish the project whose aim is to benefit Ugandans and the African people at large. And Ugandans should give President Museveni equivocal support,” Dr. Rugunda, who is also a Special Envoy for Special Duties, Office of the President, said on Thursday.
He added that Uganda under the leadership of President Yoweri Museveni has always respected human rights. “On the issue of Human Rights, no one really should be preaching to us, because the whole essence and the administration of NRM was a struggle for Human Rights. Yes, there might be some mistakes but it’s our duty to correct them, no one should remind us, because the machinery to deal with such challenges is already in place.”
“There is no country in the world, where you don’t occasionally see abuses of Human Rights, You have seen what has been happening in America, they have been grappling with those issues of Human rights and in comparison, Uganda should be congratulated for the tremendous progress we have made in spite of the provocations and the challenges,” he added.
Dr Rugunda joins a number of government leaders who have come out to slam the EU Parliament resolutions. the first was the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Thomas Tayebwa who said the EU motion represented the highest level of neo-colonialism and imperialism against the sovereignty of Uganda and Tanzania. He noted that the motion seeks to curtail Uganda’s progress on oil and gas development and by extension the country’s socio-economic development.
On 16th September 2022, the EU Parliament adopted a resolution stopping the construction of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), also known as the Uganda–Tanzania Crude Oil Pipeline (UTCOP) due to major environmental and climate risks posed by the execution of the project, they also accused the two governments and the contractors of human rights violations.
According to the EU Parliament, more than 100,000 persons are being forcibly evicted to make space for the coveted pipeline project and they are being deprived of the use of their ‘land’ and so, of their livelihood before receiving the required compensations.
“Calls for the EU and the international community to exert maximum pressure on Ugandan and Tanzanian authorities, as well as the project promoters and stakeholders, to protect the environment and to put an end to the extractive activities in protected and sensitive ecosystems. These include the shores of Lake Albert and commit to using the best available means to preserve the culture, health, and future of the communities affected and to explore alternatives in line with international climate and biodiversity commitments,” reads part of the resolution.
The EACOP is a 1,443km, 24-inch diameter heated and buried crude oil pipeline that will start from Kabaale, Hoima in Uganda to Chongoleani, Tanga in Tanzania. The pipeline will have a manifold in Kabaale, Hoima, six (06) pumping stations (two (02) of which will be located in Uganda), 27 heating stations and two (02) pressure reduction stations.
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