There are mixed feelings among villagers in Uganda who will be impacted by French energy giant TotalEnergies’ controversial Tilenga oil field project.
An estimated 5,551 people will have to move off their land to make way for the $10 billion oilfields and pipeline project in Uganda and Tanzania.
The company says 93 per cent of those who have to be relocated have signed compensation agreements. Some got cash for land, while others were moved to new homes or were offered training.
Jackson Adubango has been affected by the project but said that it is changing some people’s lives for the better in his village.
"The first impact that I’ve seen, the young people in the village who were not going to school, they stayed at home and life was hard for them. But right now, because of the project, they have got jobs and money. Even if the money doesn’t come to me, the young people got it,” he said.
Eimily Fwachan agrees.
"I benefitted. I didn’t ride a motorcycle before. My motorcycle is there with my son, he is riding it. These days we are lacking water, he is fetching water at the water centre using the motorcycle I got through this compensation money from Total."
But others are resisting the lure of compensation.
"Some people who signed, said ‘They say they are going to take us to court.’ So those people think that if they take them to court they will lose their money. So, they decided to sign. But we refused. Till now we have refused," said John Tundulu.
Others said they are not happy with the way the land acquisition was settled and have yet to see any money from TotalEnergies.
Drilling looks set to go ahead after a French court on Tuesday dismissed a case brought by NGOs against the company.