EACOP hands over replacement houses in Kagera

IT was all smiles for ten Nkomelo villagers in Muleba District, Kagera Region after being handed over the keys to their new resettlement houses as they prepare to vacate their old places to pave the way for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) construction due to commence later this year.

During the handover ceremony on Tuesday, beneficiaries expressed their happiness as they received keys and a first look of the finished houses’ interiors.

These homes have modern amenities, including outdoor kitchen, solar powered batteries, powering lighting and conventional sockets, rainwater harvesting and water storage tanks as well as ventilated improved pit latrines.

“I never in my life thought I would live with my family in such a beautiful house considering that my family used to live in a mud-house, but moving in such a modern house is something that I never imagined before,” said a 67-year old Jovin Thadeo, a father of 15 children.

Dustan Muganyizi, 54, while receiving the key to his family’s home, was equally enthusiastic.

“The replacement house is apart from the monetary compensation that we have already received. It has transformed our lives as we have been able to purchase motorcycles, additional farm land and cattle, among other things, to start other family activities,” he said.

Several senior representatives from the EACOP, the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA), the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC), and Muleba District government officials attended the handover ceremony.

Director of Petroleum Business at TPDC Dr Wellington Hudson, said during the handing over event that by September this year, a total of 339 replacement homes will have been built for Project Affected People (PAPs) in Tanzania, 58 of which had already been handed over including today’s (Tuesday) ten in various pipeline-affected locations.

He stated that the delivery of new homes to PAPs was a concrete sign that the project’s compensation process was proceeding without hitches.

EACOP Managing Director Martin Tiffen said that in Tanzania there are a total of 9,898 PAPs (households) of which some 97 per cent where impacted through land, crops, trees or structures acquisition. The remaining 344 PAPs, which is equivalent to 3 per cent, had their primary dwellings impacted.

In line with IFC Performance Standards, physically displaced households were offered the choice of cash compensation or replacement housing, with some 90 per cent electing for replacement housing.

The replacement houses are all built using local contractors, drawing unskilled labour from the area where they are located and using an innovative South African moulding technique.

The houses are covered by a one-year warrant period whereby the contractors are charged with the responsibility of fixing any issues that may occur during the period.

Mr Tiffen stressed that proper completion of the compensation process was a pre-requisite for notifying households to vacate their land.

EWURA Chairman of the Board of Directors Professor Mark Mwandosya hailed the move by EACOP to handover houses to PAPs, saying that it sends a clear message that human rights are also considered in the implementation of the project.

“We consider all international requirements including environmental protection and conservation as we implement this national strategic project,”

“We promised to implement this project while safeguarding the environment and transforming the lives of our people for social and economic transformation”, said Professor Mwandosya, who held different Ministerial positions in the fourth phase of the government.

Dr Aziz Mlima, who is Tanzanian Ambassador to Uganda, said Tanzania is in good shape for the project implementation, adding that he was pleased to see for himself the progress on the ground after visiting various pipeline project sites.

Ntaki Charles Mayunga,   acting Muleba District Executive Director who represented his District Commissioner Abel Nyamahanga, said that the construction of the replacement houses also brought positive economic impact for Nkomelo residents since it created short term employment.

EACOP has been licensed to construct the 1,443km crude oil export infrastructure that will transport Uganda’s crude oil from Kabaale – Hoima in Uganda to the Chongoleani peninsula near Tanga in Tanzania for export to the international market.

In Uganda, 203 of the 2,648 PAPs are physically displaced, and of these, 178 have opted for replacement housing as in-kind compensation instead of monetary compensation. The first batch of these houses was also handed over in February 2023.

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