KAMPALA, February 2, 2024 – The Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu has been asked to table a statement in parliament on government plans to sensitise the citizenry on minerals, following the discovery of new minerals in different regions of the country.
The directive was issued yesterday by Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa following a matter of national importance raised by Kajara County Member of Parliament, Michael Timuzigu who complained about the conflicts in Ntungamo District resulting from the discovery of lithium.
Tayebwa said that residents of mineral-rich communities are often cheated in land transactions and castigated the ministry for hoarding information from the locals in favour of investors.
“There is a lot of cheating in this sector. I was in Buhweju district and the people who carry out gold mining said they do not know how gold looks.”
He added: “Personally, I do not know how it looks despite the 20 years of gold mining in my own land. I would therefore, request the minister to present a statement next week on Wednesday on the processes of sensitising communities in the entire county.”
Timuzigu decried the chaos in Ntungamo district where investors have acquired land cheaply and that locals are unaware whether they are leasing land or selling completely.
“People do not know how to deal with investors who are working with the guidance of the Ministry of Public Service and as such investors do not go through the district structures. They are dealing with local councils to buy on their terms. People would want to know the actual value of land now that there are minerals,” said Timuzigu.
Timuzigu prayed that the Energy Ministry intervenes to provide formal and clear guidance to people to avoid escalating the conflicts.
The Deputy Attorney General, Jackson Kafuuzi urged said it is the mandate of the ministry to sensitise people on both mineral availability and the protocols regarding extraction.
“The ministry should do a proper mapping of areas that have minerals and let people know that I am seated on land that is mineral rich so that if I decide to sell land, I think otherwise,” said Kafuuzi.
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