Uganda Parliament slams ‘racist’ EU position on oil pipeline

KAMPALA, Ugandan lawmakers led by the Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa, condemned Members of European Union Parliament, accusing them of economic sabotage, racism and interference over a motion seeking to block the Shs14 trillion oil pipeline project.

“This motion seeks to curtail the progress of Uganda’s Oil and Gas developments and by extension, the country’s socio-econmic growth and development….the resolution represents the highest level of neo-colonialism and imperialism against the sovereignty of Uganda and Tanzania,” Tayebwa’ s statement reads.

The EU Parliament voted on a motion for a resolution to stop the construction of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), citing human rights violations and the negative environmental effects of the project both in Uganda and Tanzania.

Tayebwa said the motion is based on misinformation and deliberate misrepresentation of facts on environment and human rights protection aimed at sabotaging Uganda’s economic development.

The EU Parliamentarians advised member countries not to render any diplomatic and financial support to Uganda-Tanzania oil pipeline project.

In a statement backed by lawmakers, the Deputy Speaker talked of “economic racism” targeting developing countries and described the EU motion as a direct attack on not only the sovereignty of Parliament, but the whole country.

“Uganda is a developing country, and a sovereign state that has its unique development needs and priorities. I, therefore, call upon the European Union Parliament to withdraw the motion for a resolution that is against the UN Charter that provides for Uganda’s right to self-determination and sovereignty over its natural resources,” Tayebwa said.

He added: “These are individual MPs abusing their authority. You want to say we did not do a good job here? That they have more information about our resources than we do? This is just a scare of seeing an African country going to progress, and you would no longer be begging every day. You can question anything but issues of economic sabotage and blackmail.”

The EACOP is a 1,445 kilometer pipeline that will transport crude oil from the Albertine Graben to the coast and the international market.

Government is relying on the more than six billion barrels of the resource to move the country to middle income status, provide jobs, among other benefits. More than Shs14 trillion is expected to be invested in the pipeline works alone.

Tayebwa said the premise on climate change as advanced by the European legislators is disproportionately applied to Africa, yet member states of the EU continue to explore and use fossil fuels, including plans for future drilling.

“It is imprudent to say that Uganda’s oil projects will exacerbate climate change, yet it is a fact that the EU block with only 10 percent of the world’s population is responsible for 25 percent of global emissions, and Africa with 20 percent of the world’s population is responsible for 3 percent of emissions. The EU and other western countries are historically responsible for climate change. Who then should stop or slow down the development of natural resources? Certainly not Africa or Uganda,” Tayebwa said.

He added: “Fifty-three licences have recently been issued in the North Sea and Germany has revived its coal plants. In addition, western countries are seeking to import gas from African countries. All this is in a bid to ensure energy security in their respective states. Is energy security a preserve for only the European Union? Does Uganda not have the same right?”

In the statement, he also dismisses claims of non-compensation of Project Affected Persons, saying more than 70 percent have been cleared.

The Tororo Woman MP, Sarah Opendi, said considering the position of the EU as a prominent development partner, the Executive needs to engage the body for continued smooth diplomatic engagements.

Asuman Basalirwa, the Bugiri MP, added: “Do they perhaps have information we do not have? Do they know something that we do not?”

Felix Okot Ogong, Uganda’s representative to the Pan African Parliament, said: “Billions of dollars are siphoned from Africa in form of raw materials and as you try to add value, they interfere. The Pan African Parliament has resolved no one should dictate what we do with our resources. Our government should stand firm as a sovereign state,”

Muwanga Kivumbi, the Butambala County MP, said this is an agenda by western countries to keep Africa impoverished. He called for prudent management of the resources if the country is to gain economic independence.

The state minister for regional affairs, John Mulimba, said the Executive will study the resolution and report back to the House.

Source: Nam News Network

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