The government of Uganda has promised to reimburse citizens who have been affected by mining projects in Kapchorwa and Bulambuli districts. This is according to the minister of Internal Affairs, Major Gen Kahinda Otafiire. The official, who had set up a meeting with the affected communities and their local leaders in Buwekanda village, said that the affected people deserve to be duly compensated.
The area in question is famous for mining of pozzolana, an important constituent in cement manufacture. Kampala Cement Company is one of the major firms that have been exploring the area in search of this ingredient. Locals have, since 2014, been demanding compensation with their efforts proving futile. The promise by the government to deliver the compensation however, has been received with delight.
Among the most affected localities are Kaboryot, and Kapchela in Kawowo Sub-county, Kapchorwa District, and Buwekanda Village in Nabbongo Sub-county, Bulambuli District.
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According to the villagers, mining activities have threatened their lives in terms of exposure to dust, vibration from machines and other health hazards. Additionally, flying stones and rocks from the sites have wrecked their houses. A 2km access road to the quarry was also constructed without prior engagement and compensation of land owners in the area.
The minister of Internal Affairs assured residents that their dues will be paid, saying that the government needs development, but with responsibility.
“We are all concerned and we promise we are going to pay for all the damages caused and later we will compel Kampala Cement to pay us back,” He said.
He also promised that a team of geologists and environmentalist economists will stop by the area to assess the damages in order to decide on an appropriate and befitting compensation figure for each household.
“We are going to start with Bulambuli because it has more claims and later we shall move to Kapchorwa but only genuine claimants will be compensated,” he said.
In June, the community protested and blocked the road to the quarry, claiming that water sources had been contaminated and the environment degraded.