By Tugume Johnbosco
KIKUUBE. Government has assured Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom on the preservation of its cultural heritage sites in the wake of oil exploration activities.
Responding to concerns raised by Bunyoro Kingdom officials on the lack of a deliberate effort to protect cultural heritage sites during oil activities, Peninnah Aheebwa, the Petroleum Authority of Uganda Director for technical services said, it is within the Authority’s mandate to ensure that Oil operators adhere to the laid down national and international policies and laws.
“The National Oil and Gas Policy of 2008 requires that oil and gas activities are undertaken in a manner that conserves the environment and biodiversity and hence there is no compromise about that,” Aheebwa said during a public hearing for the Kingfisher Field Development Area, held in Kyangwali, Kikuube district on Wednesday.
During the meeting Bunyoro, Kitara Kingdom Special Assistant for Culture Hajj Bruhan Kyakuhaire said there are cases where cultural sites have been destroyed during oil related projects, yet no effort is being made to restore them. Kyakuhaire asked government for a comprehensive management and restoration plan for sites of cultural importance.
“As Banyoro, we have existed for over 6000 years and thus new developments should have measures aimed at promoting and preserving our cultural values, norms, rituals and practices which enhance the dignity and wellbeing of people of Bunyoro,” he emphasized.
Recently Bunyoro Kingdom blocked Chongqing International Construction Corporation limited, a Chinese company contracted to tarmac the Hoima-Wanseko road from blasting the Haibaale rock, which kingdom officials claimed was a cultural site.
It's over a decade now since the discovery of oil in the Albertine region of Uganda.The oil discovery offset exploration activities, which go hand in hand with a lot of infrastructural developments.These developments have triggered concerns from locals, environmentalists and cultural leaders among others.