Gold artisanal miners in Mubende have petitioned Parliament protesting President Yoweri Museveni’s order evicting them from their land in favor of Gemstone International mining company.
The president recently granted the eviction of about 2500 artisan miners from five square kilometers and ordered that the land be given to the investor, yet the investor already owns 207 square kilometers.
The directive, according to the miners, was issued on June 13, during a meeting between President Museveni and Gemstone International, a license holder.
The group led by the area Members of Parliament Michael Bukenya (Bukuya county), Patrick Nsamba (Kasanda North) and Joseph Kakooza (Buwekula county) handed over the petition to the Speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga on Monday.
The chairperson of Mubende Artisanal miners, Robert Sempewo pleaded to parliament to write to the president to reverse the decision of evicting them from their land.
“We request that only 5 square kilometers out of the 207 square kilometers should be left aside to be occupied by us to continue operating; we also request that Parliament investigates why Gemstone Mining Company has continued to change names time and again,” Sempewo said.
Legislators from Mubende said that the president was misled by the Minister of State for Privatization Evelyn Anite and a senior State House Gertrude Njuba who introduced the investor of Gamstone mining company to him.
“The misguided decision to evict miners didn’t take into concern any contribution from the local people who are involved in the mining and the residents of the area,” Bukenya said
The group accused Minister Anite of blocking their chance for the president to hear their side before giving their land to the investor.
The speaker of parliament Rebecca kadaga promised to forward the gold artisan miners petition to the president, adding that there should be a law regulating artisan miners so as to be protected.