Silent voices in the oil and gas development in Uganda’s Albertine Graben
Estellina Namutebi1, Joost Dessein1, Marijnen Esther2
1Ghent University, Agricultural Economics
Oil and gas development has promoted the lives of the elite in Uganda. Most of them seized land in the Albertine Graben to share in the economic gains of shale oil and gas at the extent of the people at the grassroot. Those at the grassroot are geographically the primary stakeholders in the oil and gas resource whose voices have been silenced by the unjust situations they are experiencing. They are the silent voices who have not been involved in the whole process of oil and gas development, yet the resources have existed in their ethnic region for ages. In addition to land grabbing, which has left most host community members homeless, the few scattered patches of land are infertile and not suitable for farming activities due to the decommissioning activities which were haphazardly done. The future of the host communities looks bleak because the exploration activities upstream stage have perturbed the ecosystem services. Despite being primary stakeholders, they are never involved in the decision-making of their ethnically natural resources. The 2008 Petroleum Policy well stipulated how the primary stakeholders and the environment will be protected, but the implementation and enforcement are poor. Using the grounded theory the paper sought to find ways in which host communities can build resilience using the perspective of environmental justice by claiming their autonomy as primary stakeholders and making the government accountable for its actions within the region. Consequently, the findings discovered that the host community’s voice is not heard, for instance, women’s voices are thwarted, yet they are the breadwinners of the communities of the Kibiro landing site in Hoima district. The men in this vicinity can no longer do the fishing activities as in the past because they are forbidden to do so. Thus the need for capacity building in developing a community resilience model using environmental justice.
Keywords: Development, oil and gas, silent voices
Contact Address: Estellina Namutebi, Ghent University, Agricultural Economics, Coupure links, 9000 Ghent, Belgium, e-mail: estellina.namutebiugent.be