TotalEnergies Pipeline Project in East Africa Raises Controversy over Treatment of Community Graves


TotalEnergies faces accusations of neglecting local customs and traditions related to the treatment of graves in a heated pipeline project from Uganda to Tanzania, as reported by a New York-based climate watchdog.

TotalEnergies Accused of Failing to Protect Graves

A report by the New York-based climate watchdog, GreenFaith, accuses TotalEnergies of neglecting the sanctity of hundreds of graves in a controversial pipeline project from Uganda to Tanzania. The company allegedly failed to respect local customs and traditions related to the treatment of graves, causing distress to communities in both countries.

TotalEnergies Denies Charges, Faces Opposition

TotalEnergies has denied the accusations, emphasizing the use of state-of-the-art design, including horizontal drilling, to minimize ecological damage. However, campaigners and European lawmakers have been urging the company to cancel the project, citing concerns over its impact on the environment and local communities.

Concerns over Spiritual and Ecological Impact

The GreenFaith report indicates that the pipeline project, in addition to climate and human rights concerns, is considered a ‘spiritual assault’ on local communities. It is estimated that more than 2,000 graves will be disturbed or disrespected by drilling and pipeline activities, with claims that due diligence and advanced survey techniques were neglected.

Ongoing Opposition and Legal Challenges

Despite resistance from TotalEnergies, European lawmakers have adopted a resolution urging the suspension of its activities in the region. The company also faces legal challenges, with a second lawsuit filed in Paris alleging non-compliance with France’s ‘duty of vigilance’ law and seeking compensation for alleged land and food rights violations.

Environmental and Sociopolitical Ramifications

The pipeline project has sparked debates over its potential impact on ecological fragility, passing through forest reserves and game parks, and running alongside Lake Victoria, which serves as a crucial source of fresh water for millions. Additionally, it has raised concerns about violations of national sovereignty and local opposition to halting the project.

Oil Operations and Conservation Concerns

Oil drilling operations have already commenced in western Uganda’s Murchison Falls National Park, a habitat for diverse wildlife and the breathtaking Nile waterfall. This has further intensified the discourse on environmental conservation and the potential threats to the region’s biodiversity.