24 April 2018

Uganda: Miners Threaten to Strip Naked Before the President

Photo: Gado/RNW
Satirical cartoonist of a miner

They query delayed intervention by his Excellency

Artisanal miners who were evicted from the gold mines in Mubende district last year have vowed to stripe naked before the president if he insists on pushing them out of these gold mines.

The artisanal miners expressed this during their meeting held at Mountain Pub Hotel in Mityana municipality on 23/4/2018

This comes after these miners receiving a communication from the woman Member of Parliament for Mubende district Nalongo Benny Bugembe Namugwanya about the forth coming meeting with the evicted miners slated on the 23/ may/2018

According to the General Secretary Mubende United Miners Assembly Kibirige Emmanuel, since the eviction eight months ago, the president has been promising the gold miners a dialogue to solve this issue of unfair evictions, with no alternative working area, but has never honoured his promise.

"we have tried to contain ourselves for the last 8 months with hope that one day we will return and resume our work but we are running out of patience. In case we donot succeed this time with the fourth coming meeting with the president, we are ready to strip naked before the president. May be that's when he will understand our grief," he told this publication.

Kibirige further explained that;" We are no longer interested in the government's strategy to provide us with machinery so that we can improve on our mining skills and our lives. All we need is to revive our survival because mining has been our source of livelihood for a long time."

Mubende district Police Commander Okoyo Martin has however advised these miners to handle the issue calmly by writing to the concerned offices for a solution instead of going roudy, an act that may culminate into arrest.

Artisanal miners were evicted from several mining sites that included Lugongwe, Kampala , Lujinji A, Lujinji B, Lujinji, Kabadda, Nfuka in kitumbi and bukuya subcounties in mubende district last year in August.

Over 60,000 artisanal miners who were operating several business that included sale and buying of gold, operating bars, wholesale shops, salons, clinics, mobile money agents, chapati stalls, entertainment halls, lodges, restaurants, mechanical workshops, boda boda riders and taxis drivers in Mubende district were ordered to vacate the gold mines within a period of two hours following the presidential directive to evict all the artisanal miners in Mubende district on grounds that the people in the mines are not registered, government doesn't know the amount of gold getting out from this area, the people operating in this area are not Ugandans and increased environmental degradation which is a threat to the nearby communities.

However the permanent secretary under ministry of energy and mineral development Dr. Stephen. R. Sabalija in the letter dated 02/august/2017 entitled statement on illegal mining activities in Uganda explained that government is putting in place intervention measures whereby all the local artisans will be registered in all mining areas of Kitumbi and Bukuya sub counties so that they can be organised into groups that shall ultimately be regulated.

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