The minister in charge of Karamoja Affairs, John Byabagambi has asked the ministry of energy and mineral to cancel all the mining licences issued to investors proposing to mine in Karamoja.
He said most of the investors who got mining licences did not follow the right procedures including consulting the local communities who are the owners of the land.
Byabagambi observed that other purported investors were holding licenses yet they have no capacity to set up factories in Karamoja.
“We don’t condone briefcase investors, we want serious investors who can improve our country’s economy but not those who want to pull down our economy,” he said.
Byabagambi who was on Sunday touring some of the mining sites in Moroto district received complaints of the local community opinion leaders raised who expressed alarm at the current rate of land grabbing by purported investors.
Andrew Napaja Keem, the Moroto district LCV chairperson said the high rate of land grabbing by purported investors is causing security threats in the region that had become peaceful.
Keem said some so-called investors have gone as far as acquiring land titles after getting mining licenses without the knowledge of the community that owns the land.
“Honourable minister, we need your intervention over the land grabbing by so-called investors, we are not against investors but we need to receive investors with clear motives,” he beseeched the minister.
Simon Nangiro, the chairman of Karamoja small scale artisanal miners told URN that the discovery of minerals in Karamoja has rendered many families landless.
“Everybody is running with a location and mining lease to take the land without even consulting the landowners, which is going to generate conflicts if there is nothing done to stop this,” he said.
A survey carried out by Ecological Christian Organisation, an NGO that has been sensitizing locals on their mining rights in the region, indicates that 99% of the land in Karamoja have been licensed and that 170 investors are holding exploration and mining licences for the duration of 10 to 30 years without the knowledge of the community.