African Social Science Review


Although oil wealth has been applauded for being a sine qua non for development because of its profitability, its lucrativeness to global capitalism has empowered global powers and increased marginalization and poverty in the Oil Village Communities (OVCs) of developing countries. The thrust of this study was to analyze different ways oil politics influences land tenure changes and alienation of local citizens’ land rights through the process of land dispossession in Uganda’s Albertine region. Anchored within accumulation by dispossession discourse, the study used qualitative approach and employed in-depth interviews, focused group discussions, observations and documentary reviews as data collection instruments. Findings indicate that oil politics influenced land tenure changes through two causal mechanisms: disruption of existing land governance structures and the reconstitution of land interests in the Albertine region. These were manifested through compulsory large-scale land acquisitions for oil infrastructural developments such as oil refinery, central processing facilities and oil processing plants and the swift transfer of land holdings from customary to freehold land tenure relations. Consequently, short notice massive evictions, alienation of citizens’ land rights and inadequate or delayed land compensations pushed citizens to the land margins and suffered from the curse of dispossession. To realize inclusive development, there is need to consider all dimensions of development and restore the safety valves of the affected people, rather than fronting capitalist ideological conceptions that sideline the interests of the majority poor.



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