EU resolutions on Uganda-Tanzania oil project dominate week as Museveni calls EU legislators shallow, envoy says resolutions not binding to stakeholders, Museveni assures country on Ebola, UMA trade show opens

President Yoweri Museveni last week asked the European Parliament to stay away from Uganda’s oil industry and learn to be tolerant of other people. The President, speaking during the Uganda Oil and Gas Conference in Kampala last Tuesday, was reacting again to resolutions that were passed last month by the EU Parliament, calling on Uganda and Tanzania to halt the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project. The EU legislators allege a violation of human rights and destruction of the ecosystem along the EACOP project and say construction should be suspended for at least one year to find an alternative route.

President Museveni told the Uganda Oil and Gas Conference in Kampala that there is no plan to halt the developments of any of the projects, urging the EU MPs not to start a battle. He said it was not prudent to suspend the pipeline which will not only transport crude to export markets but also move gas from either Mozambique or Tanzania to Uganda and other countries. Gas, he said would help Uganda’s movement towards green energy. Museveni also said he was in support of the green movement to prevent further deterioration of the environment, but that the West must do more on climate change because they have done more damage to the environment. 

The Ugandan government says it plans to roll out a third round of licensing next year, targeting exploration areas this time in the East of the country, according to the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, Irene Batebe.

President Museveni termed to EU approach as “shallow”, stating that the EU legislators were “egocentric” people “who think they know everything.”

Meanwhile the EU head of delegation to Tanzania and the East African Community, Mr Manfredo Fanti,  has stated that the EU resolutions were only an expression of concern over the environment and human rights and not binding to the countries concerned nor to TotalEnergies. In an interview with Tanzanian newspaper, The Citizen, Mr Fanti stated that the resolutions were a political decision of the European Parliament, which is completely legitimate and within the European parliament, but they are not binding.

“Local environmental authorities in both countries have confirmed that the project will not have any adverse impact. On the other hand, the EU Parliament says otherwise. Who should we trust?”, he said, adding; “The authorities in Tanzania and Uganda are perfectly free to continue with the project because these are sovereign states, and they have the right to decide about their energy and development policies.

The same applies to TotalEnergies as an investor, the resolution itself does not have any impact directly on the decision of Total, which is a separate company.”

President Museveni also last week assured the country that an Ebola outbreak is under control and that no restrictions on movement are needed. The country’s health officials confirmed cases of a deadly Sudan ebola virus with six reported deaths out of 31 confirmed cases. Uganda’s medical association says some of its members are critically ill and has threatened to join a strike by medical interns over what they say is inadequate personal protective equipment.

In an address to the nation Wednesday night, the President urged Ugandans to avoid coming in contact with body fluids such as blood, feces and vomit from infected people.

Even though the source for the Sudan ebola virus, a strain for which the World Health Organization says cross-protection of vaccine for other Ebola strains has not been established, Museveni warned Ugandans against eating meat from monkeys, chimpanzees and gorillas.

28th Uganda International Trade Fair opened Monday with exhibitors setting up stalls but many complained of low turn up. The exhibition will feature traders from small scale to large scale traders dealing in commodities like agricultural and building equipment. It is expected that 920 exhibitors will be at the Lugogo Uganda Manufacturers Association, UMA, Show Grounds. At least 120 exhibitors are foreign companies.

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