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To Say That Uganda Is Transporting Crude Oil by Trucks is the Peak of Ignorance

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By Elison Karuhanga

I have read a number of allegations that the oil companies and the government are secretly dealing in Uganda’s oil. The allegation is that trucks/trailers are being used to export our oil as the common man waits for production to start.

I can say without fear of contradiction that this particular allegation is untrue, false and utterly ridiculous. It is sad that the allegation is coming from minds capable of better things. I hope in this simple piece to demonstrate this as clearly as possible. Let us start by agreeing on the basic facts.

Oil companies like TOTAL and CNOOC are businesses. They are mainly here to make a profit. They will make the profit by producing and selling oil. They hope, like all businesses to make sure that when they sell the oil they will get enough money to meet their costs and have money left over-this is called profit. So, let us agree that their motive is not hidden. Their motive is profit.

The second fact we can agree on is that the oil is mainly got from underground. When it comes out of the ground it is in its “raw form”. This “raw form” is what we call crude oil.

Would oil companies make profit if they secretly put the crude oil in trailers and drove it to Mombasa? The answer is no. In fact it would be one of the worst business decisions ever taken in the history of business.

How is oil transported?

Crude oil is mainly transported across borders and over long distances by pipelines. The reason why Uganda plans to build a pipeline is not because pipelines are fashionable and not because we lack trucks. It is because the pipeline is the most cost effective way to transport crude oil. Uganda’s oil will be transported to Tanga in Tanzania. From Hoima to Tanga is about 1,455 km. From Hoima to Mombasa is around 1,375 km. The cost of transportation in the pipeline ranges between US$ 12.2 to US$ 15 per barrel. For the sake of argument we shall assume Uganda will pay a tariff of US$ 20 per barrel and not 12 dollars. That is about 70,000 shillings. A barrel of oil is equivalent to 159 liters. Therefore to transport cargo of 159 liters of oil in the pipeline for a distance of 1,455 km it would cost UGX 70,000.

If an oil company decided instead to use a truck how much would it cost? Let us ignore the risks associated with road transport, the cost of repair, the cost of the drivers etc and just look at the cost of fuel in the oil tanker.

The average cost of fuel in the tanker from Mombasa to Hoima and back to Mombasa would be in the region of UGX 5,000,000. The cost of road transport for crude oil is therefore seventy one times more expensive than the cost of transport in a pipeline. Why would even a terrible businessman go for the road transport route?

Not only is road transport more expensive it also completely wipes out any chance of profit for the oil company. Remember the oil tanker/trailer is carrying crude oil. The product which is going to be sold is crude oil. The cost of 1 barrel of crude oil is around US$ 59 (Uganda Shillings 218,300). So why would anyone transport cargo worth UGX 218,300 at a cost of UGX 5,000,000? Even a bad business cannot make such a decision.

As a simple issue of cost there is no benefit, not even a remote one from transporting oil by road to Mombasa or Tanga.

Cost is not the only issue. Using trucks to carry crude oil from Hoima would be a logistical nightmare. Many books have been written explaining this very point. Valcalv Smith in his book “Oil: A Beginners Guide” said, “replacing a 1000 km pipeline carrying 20,000 tons of oil a day with tanker trucks (assuming each truck holds 25tons and covers 1,000 km a day) would need a fleet of 1,600 vehicles with a load arriving every 54 seconds.” In our case the coast is 1,455 km away. We would probably need 2,000 trucks to transport Ugandan oil.

It is also worth noting that trucks of a certain weight are not allowed on the road. Long distance travelers in Uganda will have noticed at different points these things manned by UNRA called weigh bridges. The weigh bridge measures the weight of the truck. In this case the 2000 heavy trucks arriving in Hoima every 54 seconds (at all hours of the day) would not last a month since they would simply make a large chunk of the road network impassable.

When the crude oil will eventually be pumped out, it will first be taken to what is called a Central Processing Facility. Here the oil will be separated from other impurities like mud, stones etc. Only crude oil will go to the pipeline. Once in the pipeline it will be heated because Uganda has waxy crude oil that needs heating. So these trucks are they taking Crude Oil, mud, water, stones etc? Or are these trucks fitted with mini Central Processing Facilities? If they are, then Uganda will be the 1st country on earth to have imported them from God knows where (unless we are secretly manufacturing these trucks.)

Even if the trucks would process the crude, it would still need to be heated. One wonders if these magical trucks are also fitted with solar panels.

The whole thing is impractical, not profitable, not possible, not necessary and absurd.

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Five ways youths can be champions of peace in their societies.

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By Staff Writer

Uganda is dominated by the youth going by their population size in the country. Having the largest percentage,  it is vital that the youth are involved in all or most of the country’s development initiatives including peace building. Youth involvement cannot only be externally initiated. Youth by themselves can be champions of peace building in their societies. Here are the 5 things youth can do to achieve this:

Embracing communication, listening, and empathy skills – To champion peace, youth should listen to each other and get ideas and perceptions of people regardless of ones background. These ideas are put together, discussed and the outcomes used to build a solution. The solution can be used to solve conflict and create peace in society.

Dialoguing and consulting the experts – There are always those who have the expertise and have seen more. Try and get help from them. In the process of dialoguing you can share ideas and come up to one solution. To champion peace, you can also work with the peacebuilding champions who have gone through training and have networks embracing youth initiatives.

Networks and Forums – Embracing networks and forums within your scope can go a long way in helping you champion peace in society. When you are united in a forum or a network, it is easy for you to reach out to national forums. The ideas from the dialogues are able to have a strong solution that will be able to champion peacebuilding initiatives and give a voice to the voiceless.

File photo: A youth-led peacebuilding training session.

Use of IT for development – Using IT and digital platforms including Social Media to spread peace and not conflict goes a long away in peacebuilding. Youth leaders can communicate with varied audiences and those that are far from them using the internet in order to spread the peacebuilding message. For example, if there is a proactive group and a network in Kampala, they can easily link up using ICT and share those ideas with another group in Bundibugyo or Kasese. Trainings can also be done online and out of the training people that the leader has trained can share ideas as they are empowered through the skills and knowledge.

Gender consideration – Consideration of gender equality is a must for youth to champion peace in society. Women and girls must be an integral part of the initiatives for peacebuilding. As a youth if you are planning to do a peace building mission in Kampala, look at the percentages of how many women are on the team verses the men. Women must be considered as part of each and every peacebuilding element that the youth are involved.

About ACORD Uganda

The Agency for Cooperation in Research and Development – Uganda (ACORD-U) is a Ugandan National Non-Governmental Organization that has worked in Uganda since 1979. With headquarters in Nsambya-Kampala and several other offices across the Country, ACORD-U aspires to contribute towards Uganda’s Development and Humanitarian Responses for Vulnerable Communities in Rural and Peri-Urban Areas. Currently, ACORD-U Implements interventions in more than 23 Districts in the South-western, Western, Northern, West-Nile, and Eastern Parts of Uganda. Promoting peace building and peaceful co-existence are part of our mandate in Uganda.

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Online Media Publishers’ Association statement on arrest and illegal detention of Mr. Ronald Nahabwe of The Capital Times news site

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By Staff Writer
The Online Media Publishers’ Association (OMPA) has noted with concern, the arrest and continued detention of Mr. Ronald Nahabwe, a journalist at Capital Times, a news website operating in Uganda.


We are aware that Mr Nababwe was arrested this Monday, 22nd June 2020, and is still being held at the Uganda Police Force’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Kireka in connection with publishing a story about a confidential letter authored by a church leader to the head of state.


As at today, 25th June 2020, Nahabwe, will have been in detention for over 72 hours without being produced before a competent court of law. It is our understanding that the police are in the meantime subjecting him to coercive means so that he can reveal his sources.

Mr Ronald Nahabwe of thecapitaltimes.co.ug


The Online Media Publishers’ Association strongly condemns the abuse of Mr. Nahabwe’s rights and wishes to remind the Uganda Police Force that journalism is not a crime.


We demand that he be allowed access to legal counsel and immediately be produced before courts of law or he be released unconditionally, if there are no credible charges against him.


While we continue to assess the matter, we take this opportunity to reiterate to all Ugandans, including those in positions of authority, that #JournalismIsNotACrime.


Giles Muhame
President, OMPA

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Engaging the youth is a big part of peacebuilding in Uganda

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By Staff Writer

Ugandan National Non-Governmental Organisation, ACORD Uganda (The Agency for Cooperation and Research in Development) recently held a webinar where they shared lessons on peacebuilding in Uganda. The lessons were drawn from the Generation for Generation (G4G) dialogues between youth and local government leaders in the districts of Bundibugyo, Kasese and Wakiso. One of the key take-outs from the webinar that was attended by youth representatives and ACORD Uganda staff, was the issue of engaging the youth as a big part of peacebuilding in the country.

Speaking to the youth through the webinar, ACORD Uganda’s Project Officer for M&E who was also the moderator of the session said that with support from UNFPA, they are organizing a very proactive engagement with the youth leaders and potential youth leaders who are enthusiastic in making sure they expand the peacebuilding initiatives in key conflict hotspots in Bundibugyo, Kasese, and Wakiso.

John Okwera was supplemented by Catherine Muhindi Atwine, a Program Coordinator in ACORD by saying that they are talking peace and peacebuilding with the youth in Uganda as a focus since the youth make up the biggest percentage of the country’s population.

“Uganda has seen and suffered all types of conflict. It is not just the political conflict but includes things like tribalism, land disputes among others. The biggest part of the population in Uganda is youthful. This project comes in to make sure that this big part of the population is engaged and is at the center and is empowered and supported to take charge of peacebuilding where they are involved.”

Catherine went on to add that; “This project is funded by UNFPA and we are well aligned to the SDG 16 which talks about peace and justice and strong institutions, for the young people to encourage their voices to come out.”

“What do the youth understand by peace, are we speaking for them or they are actually speaking for themselves. We are counting on them to be the leaders of tomorrow because they matter and we want to create a platform where their voices are heard. This is being done through their leaders and institutions.”

It should be noted that people are always saying that the youth are at the forefront of everything, but sometimes they are incited and they don’t know what is going on much as they are taking part in it. ACORD Uganda wants to bring young people on board for them to come out and be involved in peacebuilding processes. They also want to empower the youth because this means they are empowering an entire future generation.

As a nonpartisan organization, ACORD Uganda does not subscribe to any political, religious, and pressure institution, but is an NGO that seeks to work to empower the vulnerable communities by playing a facilitation role. Through training and capacity building of the youth leadership in the focus districts, the youth have been helped to understand issues of peace and how the youth can be brought to the forefront. This has also been extended to issues of gender equality since inclusiveness is an important part when discussing peace for everyone.

Catherine finished her submission in the webinar by quoting one of the youth leaders who had this to say during one of the G4G. “The youth are always being ignored and they are looked at negatively even when they try to do positive things in society, they still need inspiration for everyone to recognize that they have contributed positively.”

The webinar
was also attended by Lapwony Patrick Loum( Project officer), Wenaheereza Conrad
(A youth leader, Kampala), Kwagala Moses (Staff in charge of the project in
Kampala) and Kiconco Annah (Project Officer in charge of the project in Kasese),
among others.

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King’s College Budo: An Era of Misogyny, Sexism and Discrimination

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King’s College Budo may not be the Heaven that it is sold to be. Last week, old girls of Budo took to Twitter to reveal the hell tales from their experiences studying at Budo. For many souls, the experiences came as shocking revelations. Parents with hopes of getting their girls to Budo had to rethink their choices. Other parents with daughters at Budo were forced to reconsider their decisions.

But what really happened at Budo? How did the school roll down the ugly alleys of abuse, misogyny and discrimination? It is said by the old girls that the boys and teachers never stopped reminding the girls of how they should count themselves lucky sharing a class with the boys. The concept of male superiority was drilled into everyone at the school. Girls considered it a privilege if a male student talked to them. The boys ran a rating system fully endorsed by the school administration. In here, they rated the girls on the scale of beauty and brains.

In addition to this sexism, the low-income students didn’t have it any easier. The caste system at Budo didn’t spare them either. It was a crime for one to be broke at Budo. “You could see it when Budonias joined other schools at A-level, they would try to import the same caste system,”says someone who studied with former Budonians.

According to the girls, “it’s institutional sexism. All we are seeking is a better life for the girls who will enter the gates of Budo. Girl lives, broke lives, all these lives matter, and they should really matter at Budo,” Paula noted. Budo is in the limelight for failing to live up to the values that it espouses. Many girls’ lives and self-esteem was crushed by the mere fact that they studied at Budo, just like the lives of many low-income students.

Budo is also the only mixed school in Uganda that has prom with other girls’ schools in the country. It doesn’t happen anywhere else. The fact that this is actively encouraged as culture is proof that the situation is almost beyond redemption.

If one is looking for patriarchy at display, they should look no further than Budo. “Basically the guys would call us ‘men in skirts’, to them, we were to ugly, that they would rather spend weeks talking to their fellow boys than to us. Budo is nothing but the capital of emotional bullying. Parents should know that their daughters are going through constant hell,” says Trisha, an old girl. “Can you imagine a girl is not allowed to be a Head Prefect at Budo? The post is reserved for the boys. When a boy sexually harassed you, you had to keep quiet. No one would believe you. You would end up suffering even more,” Trisha continues.

As many noted, this is just the beginning to unpacking years of trauma.

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