By Markson Omagor
Yesterday 11th April, 2021, the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline Tripartite Project was signed by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and his Tanzanian counterpart, President Samia Hassan Suhulu.
The signing of the EACOP deal was earlier expected to be signed in March, a week before John Pombe Magufuli fell ill and died.
The 1,440km pipeline will run from Hoima in the Albertine region to Port Tanga of Tanzania.
Speaking during the historic signing, President Museveni revealed why he chose 11th of April as the date of signing.
“I thank Her Excellency Samia Hassan for indulging my sentimental request of conducting this signing ceremony on the 11th of April, 2021. 42 years ago, this same day, is when the Tanzanian troops captured Kampala and enabled, Oyite Ojok, to announce the fall of Idi Amin.” Museveni said.
An excited Museveni also said the day was therefore, a triple victory (Ushindi ya mara tatu) for Tanzania and Uganda: military, political, and economic.
“Long live Tanzania, Long live Uganda and Long live President Hassan.” Museveni tweeted.
Below are some of the things President said quoted verbatim:
“It has taken long before the first oil, due to divergent perceptions between us and the oil companies. Initially, I did not favor the idea of the pipeline. My question was: “Why export the oil. Don’t the East Africans need it?” In this, I preferred an Oil Refinery only.”
The oil companies, however, were biased in favor of exporting crude oil only. The compromise, then, was: “Ok, let us have both the Refinery and the Pipeline.” Most of this, was when the Tanzanian route was not in the picture. We were still debating about Mombasa and Lamu.
When the Tanzanian route of Tanga became more viable, a new consideration entered my mind ─ the historical role of Tanzania in the liberation of Uganda in both 1978/79 and 1985/86. On these two occasions, Mwalimu Nyerere played a very important role.
Historically, there is this unique role of Tanzania. I am, therefore, most satisfied, that the project will make a modest contribution to the development of Tanzania. It cannot compensate for the huge sacrifice Tanzania made for us.