Global Rights Alert, with support from the Hoima District Land Board and Hoima community members, translated the Hoima District Property Compensation rates into local dialect Runyakitara. The translated rates also include pictures and drawing illustrations of the properties contained in the document. The Hoima District local government produced a list of property compensation rates, published in English, a language that is not widely understood by many of the people who will be affected by land acquisition in the Albertine region.
GRA decided to translate and illustrate the property rates into the local language to help community members better understand the rates when valuing their properties during government land acquisition, especially the coming oil pipeline project. The objective of this exercise is to ensure increased access to this information and creating widespread awareness of the valuation for properties of the communities in the oil sector. This would ensure that communities are informed and hence can ably participate in debates and decisions that affect them.
Communities can then demand for transparency and good governance from the government when conducting projects and programs in the natural resources sector. They can guard their land, property and environment from exploitation during acquisition of land for the oil sector.
In preparation for the exploitation and production of oil, the government of Uganda and private oil companies are acquiring land in the Albertine Graben which will be used to develop various infrastructure like roads, the oil refinery, airports, waste treatment plants, housing, electricity extension and now, the oil pipeline project.
In doing so and through mandatory acquisition of land, people lose their properties and are displaced. Government and the oil companies are mandated to compensate the land and property owners in a fair, timely and prompt manner. This however has not been the case in the past. The first projects (the refinery project, land for Kaiso Tonya road) were not as transparent as communities would have wished. Today, some community members are still awaiting resettlement while others have not agreed on compensation, as they rejected government valuation of their land and property.
GRA will distribute copies of the translated rates through Hoima local leaders and GRA community monitors. We want to ensure that at least every household gets a copy of the rates for future reference.