Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has criticized the European Union (EU) parliament for calling on his government to halt a strategic pipeline project with neighbouring Tanzania.
Two weeks ago, EU lawmakers passed a resolution warning of human rights violations and the social and environmental risks posed by the project.
“Some of these EU MPs cannot bear it and are so wrong that they think they know everything but they have to calm down. I encourage the oil companies to continue the refinery and oil pipeline. I hope our partners will join us firmly and advise accordingly,” Mr Museveni said at Uganda’s annual international oil and gas summit on Tuesday September 27th.
“This is the wrong battlefield for them. I hope our partners will steadfastly join us and advise them. For us, we are continuing our program,” he added.
Museveni said: “I didn’t support the idea of a pipeline because I asked my friends from Total; where are you taking our petrol?” adding that: “I developed interest in the pipeline later on for two reasons. Our Tanzanian brothers and sisters will also benefit from the project because they supported the liberation struggles.”
“The second reason for the pipeline is because Tanzania and Mozambique have more gas compared to Uganda, and will, therefore, provide an alternative export pipeline for gas to Uganda,” he said.
Rights groups say nearly 100,000 people are at risk of being displaced and have urged contractors, France’s Total Energies and China Oil Corporation, to suspend the £10bn (£8bn) project until they find alternatives.
The East African Crude Oil Pipeline project stretches 1,443 kilometres from Lake Albert in western Uganda to Tanzania’s Tanga port on the Indian Ocean.