11 September 2017

Uganda: Govt Sued Over Eviction of Mubende Gold Miners

Photo: Francis Mugerwa/Daily Monitor
Military police officers patrol mining sites in Mubende District after evicting artisanal miners recently.

Kampala — The Uganda People's Defence Forces and police are on the spot for allegedly invading and disrupting a mining business in breach of a licence in Kitumbi Sub-county, Mubende District.

In a case filed before the Commercial Court in Kampala last month, a group of miners have accused the government of interfering with their business operations.

Under their association, M/s Kitumbi-Kayonza Miners' Association Limited, the miners are seeking court orders stopping government and its agents from interfering with their operations and withdrawal of armed forces from the area.

Documents indicate that in September 2014, Kitumbi-Kayonza Miners' Association Limited, acquired three licences to carry out small scale mining. The licences were renewed for two years in September 2016.

Through their lawyers of Tugume-Byensi and Company Advocates, the miners allege that their operations were ceased basing on a presidential directive which stopped all illegal gold mining activities in Bukuya leaving no clear position on the fate of those who held valid location licences.

The miners alleged that efforts to seek audience from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development and presenting licences to the commanders of the armed forces deployed in the mining areas have been ignored.

"... all the machinery and mining business equipment to date remain under seizure of the armed forces of government and the plaintiffs' mining business has been put to halt illegally since August 4 and its workers are being intimidated, denied access to the said business premises and there is an imminent threat to destroy the mining equipment worth Shs2 billion," reads in part the court documents.

They also want a court to declare government's actions as illegal and amounting to breach of contract.

The miners argue that government should fully compensate them for their business.

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