By Prossy Namiiro
Patrick Pouyanńe, the CEO of Total Energies has rejected an invitation from the European Union (EU) Parliament to speak in favor of his company in response to concerns about the Uganda-Tanzania oil pipeline.
Through his rejection letter, Pouyanńe said that the EU Parliament should have contacted Total Energies to defend itself before passing last month’s resolution, which he says has harmed the company and its 105,000 employees.
“I very much regret that the Company and, by extension, its 105,000 employees should be publicly accused in this way by your institution, without being approached at any point for a prior adversarial discussion,” Pouyanńe said.
The EU in it’s resolution had stated that the Uganda-Tanzania oil pipeline project would displace 100,000 people. Pouyanńe however trashes it and says that they should have invited experts to provide them with facts before embarrassing them
“We would have been able to inform the Parliament that the project does not raise the “risk”, and even less an “imminent” one, of the displacement of 100,000 people,” he revealed
“In fact, 723 households, numbering some 5000 people, will be rehomed nearby in higher quality housing: other people affected because they own or farm land covered by the project have naturally been taken into account in the compensation procedure…”he continued
Pouyanńe also argued that the EU inviting him to defend Total Energies after a decision had already been made, and for only eight minutes as indicated in his invitation, does not correct the situation, and he will therefore not attend.
“You will understand that I do not intend to accept the invitation under these circumstances,” he concluded.
The EU parliament in Brussels proposed last month that Uganda-Tanzania oil pipeline project should be postponed until Total Energies and the governments involved address environmental and human rights issues around the project.
Ugandans continue to have varying opinions about EACOP, with some arguing that the project should be abandoned due to human rights and environmental issues.
Other pro-government activists assert that EACOP will end Uganda’s energy poverty and argue that those opposed to the project are not being patriotic.