KAYONZA–The Minister of Local Government, James Musoni, has ordered a thorough investigation, into gross irregularities involved in cassiterite mining in Kayonza District.
The minister issued the directive Wednesday at a meeting with local leaders in the district, mining companies’ and security officials.
The meeting, held in Kabarondo town, and also attended by the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Stanislas Kamanzi, was convened to address mining issues in the area.
It followed recent run-in between police and illegal miners in Rusave village in Kayonza.
Musoni said that mining in the district was in a serious mess, adding that the whole system had collapsed.
“I want people reprimanded...be it local leaders at all levels and or any other involved. I want action against the people behind the mess,” he said.
The minister blamed the recent clashes on a number of irregularities involved in the mining sector.
“Children dropped out of school to work in mines...mining companies shamelessly employed them, under the watch of district leaders. I want action against whoever had a hand in this. There is no point in continuing this meeting,” said a furious Musoni, before ending the meeting unceremoniously.
Mining companies get ultimatum
Musoni was also categorical on what awaited the 15 mining companies in the district.
“You have one week to sort yourselves out or else we shall sort you out. Your disorganisation must end,” he stated.
Kamanzi reiterated the need to start mining in an organised manner, and also warned people against employing children.
“Child labour in mining is not acceptable. It is a delicate matter with serious bearings.”
He added that there was need to tighten the issuing of mining licences, so that only those who meet the requirements are allowed.
“An immediate audit should be done...look at the business plan and capital of potential candidates. There must be transparency in price changes. Mining has good returns and I don’t see why these companies behave the way they do,” he said.
Musoni later in the day visited residents of the troublesome Murama Sector and pledged to build them a school.