Hundreds of residents of Kiruuma and Butologo Sub Counties in Mubende District are pleading for justice after gold miners evicted them from their land without compensation.
It is alleged that the residents have been forced out of their homes and gardens without following the due process of the law or even compensation. They are now accusing gold miners under their Federation of Artisanal and Small Scale Miners of illegally destroying their gardens, farms and properties.
Led by Sandra Nalwanga, the area Woman Councilor representing Butologo and Kiruuma Sub Counties, the residents say that the gold miners forcefully stopped them from cultivating on their respective areas and later on started digging pits. They fear that instead of digging the ground for crops, their land has been surrendered for gold-mining activities, to which they are not even beneficiaries.
Nalwanga says that one of the affected settlers had 19 pits dug in his land, which measures about 4 acres, implying that he cannot use the land for any meaningful activity. She explains that miners on the sites have referred the affected persons to the company managers who are not readily available to listen to the grievances of the affected personnel.
At a meeting in Butologo Village, the residents said that they are worried about looming famine because they are going to miss out on the planting season due to the eviction. They appealed to the government and relevant authorities to intervene in the matter so that they can be compensated for their areas and or be given shares.
Kasapuli Kataleya, 75, lamented that he was chased from his land and barred from accessing his property by the mining companies. His crops were destroyed by the miners who at first promised to work with him on his 4-acre piece of land but later turned against him.
Juliet Omuding, a single mother of 6 cried out for help saying that the said land has been a source of livelihood for her and the family.
However, Haruna Senkaayi the head of the Federation of Artisanal and Small scale miners, said that they have written agreements with the owners of the places where they are working from. Senkaayi said that the problem that they are facing is where landowners allow other people to carry out mining without the authority of the company.
According to Senkayi, out of the entire area, six people have since been paid for their areas.