EAC boss defends oil pipeline project disputed by Europe

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  • The EU Parliament adopted a resolution, which claimed human rights violations, major environmental and climate risks that the execution of the EACOP project poses

Dar es Salaam. The East African Community (EAC) has joined well-wishers for the  East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project in protest against EU Parliament resolutions, which seek to halt the investment.
On his verified twitter account, Dr Peter Mathuki, EAC Secretary General, twitted indicating the project of benefit to the region and that the bloc is keen at protecting its people and the environment.
“The East Africa Oil Pipeline project offers local and long term solutions to our local challenges in our region. The Benefits of the EACOP project are enormous to our people. In EAC we care about people and environment,” reads Dr Mathuki’s tweet.
On the other hand, the EAC Secretary General tagged verified twitter accounts of Mr January Makamba, Tanzania minister for Energy, the EU Parliament, the African Union, Uganda Parliament, and Tanzania Parliament.
Data available at the EACOP website, has it that a capital investment of some $4bn associated with the construction of the Pipeline, represents one of the largest ever inward investments into Uganda and Tanzania.
Last week, the EU Parliament adopted a resolution accusing of human rights violations, major environmental and climate risks posed by the execution of the EACOP project.
According to the said Parliament, more than 100,000 persons are being forcibly evicted to make space for the coveted pipeline project and that they are being deprived from the use of their ‘land’ and so, from their livelihood before receiving 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,” reads part of the resolution.
It adds: “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.”
In response to the EAC boss, Mr Msiko Nandi twitted: “This is East Africa’s and the larger Africa. Our fight we must win.
A tweet from Youth for East Africa Federation, thanked the secretary general, calling the East African Parliament to gather and condemn the said resolution.
However, Dr Kanakulya Dickson tweeted saying: “These Europeans still have a hangover from colonial power. How come they’ve never made such resolutions about Arab oil or Norwegian oil deep in the seas? As Africans we must unite and resist this.” Although those opposing the project appeared happy with the resolution, Clémence Dubois, France team lead at 350.org, said in a statement that there was no banks or financers who currently fund Total can ignore their responsibility.
Tanzania and Uganda immediately responded, with Mr Makamba saying his country (Tanzania) will ensure the project is excused in respect to human rights, but the Uganda Parliament saw it as a neo-colonial attitude against sovereignty of Tanzania and Uganda.
Besides, the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni hit back saying the multibillion project will be delivered timely as planned with or without TotalEnergies, a partner in the EACOP execution.
“I want to assure you that the project shall proceed as stipulated in the contract we have with Total Energies and CNOOC,” reads one of his twits. 

President Museveni recalled saying it was the French based Oil giant (TotalEnergies) that had convinced him about the pipeline idea; and that if the company pulls out then Uganda will find someone else to work with.

The president added: “Either way, we shall have our oil coming out by 2025 as planned. So, the people of Uganda should not worry.”
Moreover, Tanzanian economists had urged that angrier politically motivated responses against the resolution over the execution of the EACOP project, will not deliver desired results.
On the other hand, an online petition to counter the EU legislator’s resolution has garnered the intended 7000 signatures in just three days by yesterday, the petition campaign initiated by ‘the Western Youth Forum,’ attracted the signatures of various people from Tanzania and Uganda.