Opposition giant Kiiza Besigye has accused police of double standards after he was blocked from taking part in a public debate on the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project.

The former Forum for Democratic Change Party President was chosen to debate as a panelist on the controversial topic alongside his counterpart on the National Unity Platform (NUP) Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine.

The debate organised by African initiative on food security and environment (AIFE-Uganda), an NGO was aimed at accessing the impact of the investment decision on climate and the economy. The debate was slated to take place at Emerald Hotel, on Bombo road in Kampala.

However, the opposition giant was bounced by police officers who had put up road blocks leading up to the venue. The cops led by the area District Police Commander(DPC)SP Himumbire, told Besigye to first seek authorization from the office of the Inspector General of Police before accessing the venue.

After minutes of an exchange between the two parties, Besigye caved in and was escorted by the cops to his offices on Katonga road in Kampala.

The people’s Front for Transition (PFT), chief however says police broke the law by stopping him from accessing a private meeting. He says police is also being two faced by allowing and providing security to the first son General Muhoozi Kainerugaba to hold political rallies countrywide.

“There is no law that requires us to seek authorization from the IGP to hold a meeting in a hotel. I don’t know where police gets the authority to stop people from having meeting inside a hotel. I have seen Gen Muhoozi a serving officers moving around the country holding political rallies and guarded by the same people.” he says

The East African Crude Oil Pipeline Company Limited last week earned a licence to operate after receiving approval from Cabinet.

EACOP has a shareholding of 62 percent from Total Energies while 15 percent will come from the host Government of Uganda through the National Oil Company.

Equally, the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania owns 15 percent shares through the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation-TPDC, and 8 percent shares for China National Offshore Oil Company-CNOOC Uganda Ltd.

Notably, on September 15, 2022, the European Parliament passed a controversial “emergency resolution” by a large majority denouncing the consequences of Uganda’s oil projects citing specifically Tilenga and the East African Crude Oil Pipeline.

The resolution called for the immediate suspension of drilling activities in the protected and sensitive ecosystem (Murchison Falls National Park) and the postponement of the EACOP project for at least one year to allow a feasibility study of an alternative path to preserve the environment.

However, two months later on November 2, 2022, the “emergency resolution” was overturned during the Joint Parliamentary Assembly of the African, Caribbean, Pacific – European Union (ACP-EU) sitting in Maputo, Mozambique. The Assembly voted to let Uganda proceed with developing the Pipeline Project.

compiled by Minah Nalule