Independent presidential candidate, Lt. Gen. Henry Tumukunde has advised Bunyoro Kitara kingdom to take the lead in demanding for a fair share of the benefits from the exploitation of the oil resources.
The former Security minister on Tuesday met the kingdom officials led by the Omuhikirwa (Prime Minister) Andrew Byakutaga at the Kingdom palace in Hoima ahead of his campaigns in Buliisa, Masindi and Kiryandongo districts.
Tumukunde told Byakutaga that if Bunyoro speaks with one strong voice, it stands a better chance of getting a fair share of the 6.5 billion barrels of oil and gas that were discovered in the subregion.
“Rather than leaving the population to fight it out, you should offer leadership in negotiating with the central government on what benefits should accrue to the communities that host the [oil] wells. It is not a favour from the government,” Tumukunde said.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2013 ranked Uganda’s oil and gas reserves as the fourth largest in sub-Saharan Africa.
As the government and oil companies work towards reaching a final investment decision to pave way for the project implementation and eventual oil production, Tumukunde said that Bunyoro ought to have a better understanding of how royalties to the beneficiary communities are computed.
“There is a formula where the hosts of the wells are given special privileges. When it is an organised system like yours, then you should lead the crusade of negotiating the interest on behalf of your people,” Tumukunde said.
Tumukunde emplored the Bunyoro Kitara kingdom leadership to denounce politics based on tribalism, urging the people of Bunyoro not vote for leaders based on tribes and ethnicity but rather vote for leaders with an appropriate agenda to lead the country and their regions.
Byakutaga applauded Tumukunde him for recognizing the Kingdom saying they need leaders who respect the affairs of the Kingdom and have a love for the King and his subjects.
Byakutaga said that as an institution hosting people of different ethnicity, they equally condemn tribalism saying any leader or person, who promotes tribalism and sectarianism, is an enemy of the kingdom.