Small Scale miners in Mubende, face forced relocation for exploration and mining exercise.
The presidential directive to relocate over 50,000 small scale miners in Kitumbi, Mubende district in favor of an Investor Ms Gertrude Njuba under Gemstones International has caused fear among the miners of losing their only source of Income.
According to the cabinet meeting held at State House in Entebbe chaired by President Yoweri Museveni, the president gave an ultimatum of one week to have all the miners off the mines to pave way for Gemstone International who ministry of energy recently awarded a mining and exploration license.
Speaking to the State minister for Kampala who doubles as the woman Member of Parliament for Mubende district where these gold mines are located said, the president provided for 120 acre of land to have these local miners relocated, to allow the exploration process take-off.
Kitumbi Sub county in the greater Bukuya Constituency is Mubende’s home of Gold which has for long been drilled small scale miners who the government of Uganda terms as artisans, at mines like Kikadde, Lugongwe, Mukabadda, Kapya, Lujinji A, Lujinji B, and Lujinji C mines, with about 50,000 miners from different parts of the country who now are at risk of losing employment following the presidential directive.
Speaking to some the miners Mulyazzaawo Umaru, Mutabazi Jonathan and Nkwatirire Ismail said, this has been their only source of income after a long time searching for jobs in urban centers.
“This is the only way we have survived the unemployment scourge in the country, after mineral discovery in this area and this is the only way we have managed to sustain our families and earning a daily income. We left low paying white collar jobs and came to the mines, which has greatly changed our lives and the entire district because we also pay takes through Bukuya Sub County Officials”. Said the miners.
In a meeting at Logongwe Gold mines, the area member of parliament Hon Michael Yiga Bukenya castigated the eviction and said, whoever is championing the it is masquerading orders of the president, but advised government to help these miners acquire mining licenses and modern equipments other than forcing them out of business.
Dr Michael Yiga Bukenya who doubles and the chairperson of the parliamentary Health Committee says, planning to evict miners in Bukuya will not only cause income bottlenecks but also poses a big threat in terms of security.