Uganda’s largest and most lucrative exports were coffee and fish until 2007; then oil was discovered. Enough oil to generate 2 billion dollars of revenue for the country annually. If Uganda sounds familiar to you, it’s because of Kony 2012. Oil and Kony, is there a connection?
The New York Times states that due to corruption in Ugandan politics, “Uganda’s Parliament voted in an emergency session in mid-October to freeze all oil contracts and begin investigations of the country’s prime minister, internal affairs minister and foreign minister, all of whom are close to the president and have been accused of taking money from Tullow Oil, a British company in Uganda that was scheduled to complete a $2.9 billion deal with the Ugandan government and two other companies to produce Uganda’s oil.”
The English oil company Tullow have the drilling contract for Ugandan oil. Locals such as Western Ugandan farmer Doke will be one of 30,000 people displaced from their lands as the refinery and infrastructure shove them off their own land. Fishermen on Lake Albert are faced with stricter government laws and accusations of “illegal fishing,” a possible effort to drive these people from their homeland and make way for the refinery and subsequent infrastructure.
In addition to displacing a large population of people, Tullow have been accused of bribing the government and low-balling locals with compensation to move from their land. Calls for transparency and efforts to coerce Tullow to publish what they pay Uganda for the land are still in discussion.
Aiden Heavy of Tullow Oil said, “The Lake Albert Rift Basin is one of Africa’s most exciting oil discoveries and I look forward to working with our new Partners and the Government
of Uganda in driving this project towards major production.”
According to a February 28 Wall Street Journal article, “UK-based Tullow Oil PLC (TLW.LN) has invested at least $1 billion in the exploration of oil and gas in Uganda, leading to the
discovery of over a billion barrels of recoverable oil reserves, with an estimated 1.5 billion barrels expected to be found in three exploration blocks, the company announced Tuesday.”
The potential profits for Tullow Oil could be huge. The contract to drill is frozen due allegations of lack of transparency to show how much they are paying Ugandan farmers to relocate from their land and accusations that Tullow oil and a select few politicians have been secretly doing financial dealings to secure the drilling contract and line politicians’ pockets.
Uganda hit the headlines for a reason other than oil in the last two weeks. The Invisible Children Organization’s viral web video, Kony 2012 brought attention to the country and criticism of the I C co-founders. The criticism brought rumors of US interference in Uganda not because of LRA leader Joseph Kony, but because of the discovery of oil. Criticism harsh enough to warrant a response from the US government.
Ugandan Daily Newvision said, “The US government has announced that it will deploy troops to help Uganda fight the rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) who are currently in the Central African Republic.
Critics have said that the only reason that America seems to be coming up strongly to offer troops to help in fighting Kony when they did not when he was killing people here was because of the oil.”
Not all locals see the discovery of oil in the Hoima district of Western Uganda as a bad thing. Some entrepreneurial Ugandans have been “cashing in” on the recent discovery of oil.
For now, it seems that the US role in Uganda is an advisory one. However, with Tullow oil being accused of secret deals with the Ugandan government, a lack of transparency in addition to 30,000 locals displaced from their lands, the drilling contract remains frozen since October 2011.
America’s role in capturing Joseph Kony, a man who has not been seen in Uganda since 2008, shows America in a very positive light, positive enough to possibly get the drilling contract away from Tullow oil?
The hidden agenda for the deployment of troops to Uganda according to Global Research is the discovery of Ugandan oil.
“The hidden agenda in Uganda, Central Africa and the Horn of Africa is the conquest of oil and strategic mineral resources. Going after Joseph Kony and protecting Ugandan children is a cynical smokescreen, a pretext for a “humanitarian intervention” in a region where US sponsored “civil wars” (Sudan, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Ethiopia) have in the course of the last 20 years resulted in more than eight million deaths.”
George Soros, a member of the Crisis Management Organization who recently recommended deployment of US troops to Uganda, is also a member of the International Crisis Group.
According to WND, “Soros also maintains close ties to oil interests in Uganda. His organizations have been leading efforts purportedly to facilitate more transparency in Uganda’s oil industry, which is being tightly controlled by the country’s leadership.”
The Boston Globe had readers weigh in with opinions on the Ugandan oil and Kony issues.