Experts rubbish Museveni’s ‘I discovered oil’ lie


Uganda president Yoweri Museveni claims his government discovered the oil in Albertine region.

The president made the remarks on Saturday during the second presidential debate held at Serena hotel in Kampala.

“Oil was discovered by the NRM under my leadership and by my direct command I trained the scientists, who negotiated with the oil companies,” Museveni boldly stated.

He said Uganda now exports human resource in the field of oil.

He said the oil money will be used only for infrastructure development, science and innovation.

“About accountability, we are transparent because the law was passed by a multi-party parliament.”

“If you want good politics, don’t make false accusations”.

He said the British searched for oil from 1920-1956 and prepared a conclusive report that there was no oil, and that report is there in Ministry of Energy.

Experts disagree

Canada based Ugandan Ugandan Consultant Paediatrician & Neonatologist in Canada, Muniini K Mulera, in his quiz titled: “Who Discovered Oil In Uganda?” quotes Mr. Kezekia Mafigiri, one of the first Ugandan African engineers who has been engaged in the energy sector for almost 50 years.

Kezekia wrote: “1922 Shell oil co sank a well. This oil started surfacing around 1975. Ministry of Works picked some took it to Amin who in turn took it to Quadaffi. The Lybian discouraged Amin and that temporarily halted oil search.”

Patrick Matsiko wa Mucoori, in his 2012 article titled: “Pursuing Obbo’s lies left the emperor clearly naked” published by Daily Monitor says Museveni told a bigger lie by claiming NRM discovered oil.

This is Mucoori’s account:

“Museveni cannot be so ignorant that he does not know that he and the NRM were not the first to discover Uganda’s oil. Having ruled out that Museveni is ignorant to that extent, I have reached an inevitable conclusion that he told this lie blatantly, dishonestly and deliberately in order to claim undeserved credit.

Museveni should be honest to the truth, to himself and to the general public especially Ugandans. He says he is a patriot. Patriots don’t lie.

A few highlights below show that Uganda’s oil was not discovered by the NRM. The NRM is just taking forward the exploration and extraction process that started in the late 19th century.

Between 1890-91, Captain Fredrick Lugard, the representative of the Imperial British East Africa Company received information that oil traces had been seen on the surface in western Uganda.

He went there and subsequently announced that the IBEA company had discovered the oil.

In 1900 the British East African Syndicate company acquired an oil prospecting licence from the colonial administration in Uganda.

In 1926, long before Museveni was even born, the British government and the Anglo-Persian Oil Company entered a joint venture to extract oil in Uganda. In 1936, South Africa’s African-European Investment Company test-drilled several wells in western Uganda especially in the Semliki basin and found viable commercial oil quantities.

Fast forward, in 1957, the colonial Legislative Council passed the Petroleum Act. In 1964 Milton Obote’s first post-independence government granted oil exploration rights to Shell.

However, this process was disrupted when Idi Amin overthrew Obote’s government in January 1971.

In 1971 Amin gave rights to British companies Kirkwall Associates and Collin Oil and Gas to drill Uganda’s oil but oil producing Arab Muslim countries sabotaged the move, promising that they would offer Uganda a cheaper and better deal.

Between 1980-84 the second Obote government carried out aerial surveys of the Albertine Graben and discovered three major oil wells.

In 1985, the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act was passed by the Ugandan Parliament. A Petroleum Unit, an equivalent of what the NRM is doing today, was created in the Geological Surveys and Mines Department to manage the oil production.”

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