Uganda-Tanzania pipeline runs into legal challenges

By LUKE ANAMI

Four non-governmental organisations have moved to the East African Court of Justice to block the construction of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) by Uganda and Tanzania.

The four — the Centre for Food and Adequate Living Rights Ltd and the Africa Institute for Energy Governance both based in Kampala; the Nairobi-based Natural Justice-Kenya and the Center for Strategic Litigation Ltd based in Zanzibar — want the construction of the pipeline stopped until the matter is heard and determined.

The four NGOs claim that the EACOP project, announced a month ago by Uganda’s President’s and his Tanzania’s counterpart is yet to conduct an environmental and social impact assessment as required by both the EAC Treaty and other international laws.

Protected areas

They claim it contravenes the EAC Treaty and protocols that determine the undertaking of such a project.

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The NGOs are now seeking a permanent injunction against Uganda, Tanzania and the EAC, whom they have sued, from constructing the pipeline through protected areas, among other orders.

The pipeline will transport crude oil from Hoima district in Uganda to Chongoleani in Tanga, Tanzania.

“As a requirement by national as well as the EAC law, the project developer for the EACOP project in Uganda must be issued with a certificate of Approval of Environment and Social impact Assessment approved by the government of Uganda’s National Environmental Management Authority but the same was not issued prior to the signing of the agreements by both Uganda and Tanzania,” reads the application. The matter is yet to be assigned judges.

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