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Museveni orders foreigners to vacate gold mines of Mubende and Kasanda

The President of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has ordered foreigners who had flocked the gold mines in Mubende and Kasanda districts to vacate these areas on grounds that foreign countries were benefiting more from the trade in gold compared to Ugandans.
President Museveni expressed this during the Youth day celebrations on 16th November 2018 at Umea Primary School in Kikandwa village, Kalwana sub-county, Kasanda district where thousands of artisanal and small scale gold miners were evicted last year, and remain unemployed to-date.
Museveni said that the eviction of the artisanal and small-scale miners from the gold mines in Mubende district in August 2017 was inevitable because foreign countries were gaining from the mines more than Uganda. According to him, many of the miners in the Mubende gold mines were non-citizens which made government lose out in terms of revenue.
“The Congolese, Rwandese and Tanzanians who had come here for gold should first leave the country. Forests, lakes, rivers, gold and other minerals below the ground belong to all Ugandans. Individuals are not allowed to utilise these deposits without the consent of government who is the sole manager of these treasures. Unfortunately these artisanal miners went ahead to invade the gold mines in Mubende district, which had been licensed to AUC Mining company thus destabilizing their activities,” Museveni said.
He insists that artisanal and small-scale miners have been a huge hindrance to the investor and government cannot therefore look on while resources meant to benefit all Ugandans are taken by the people from foreign countries and a few Ugandans. “We cannot accept the artisanal and small-scale miners to destabilize the investor who legally has a license.”
Genesis
Artisanal and small-scale miners who were evicted from the Mubende gold mines for the past one year and three months have made several efforts to return to the gold mines and the President made a directive for these miners to receive 30% part of the exploration license area but up to-date they have not yet returned to the gold mines.
The eviction of the artisanal and small-scale miners came up following the presidential directive to evict them from Mubende gold mines on grounds that they not registered, government did not know the amount of gold they are getting out from this area, the miners operating in those areas were not Ugandans and that there was increased environmental degradation which is a threat to the nearby communities.
However, the then Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, Dr. Stephen R. Isabalijja in the letter dated 02/August/2017 entitled statement on illegal mining activities in Uganda, explained that government is putting in place strict measures whereby all the local artisanal and small-scale miners would be registered in all mining areas of Kitumbi and Bukuya sub-counties so that they can be organised into groups that shall ultimately be well regulated.
In order to achieve the above, the miners were ruthlessly evicted thereby leading to huge losses on their part and they have never recovered from the same.
Josephine Nabbaale
Oil.Uganda@actionaid.org