Members of Parliament under the committee of Environment and Natural resources want the Minerals Police Protection Unit held responsible and penalized for brutalizing artisanal miners.
The minerals Police Protection Unit was created in the week of escalated conflict in Buhweju mining area of Njaju and Nsika among others between the large-scale miners or investors and artisanal and small-scale miners in August, 2019 by the then IGP Gen. Kale Kayihura.
More miners evicted from mines territories they had occupied in Mubende in 2019 affecting 20,000 miners as their equipment got confiscated while others got injured.
Now members of parliament want the minerals police protection unit led by the Superintendent of Police Jessica Kigoba desponded over negligence of role and responsibilities.
Keefa Kiwanuka the Kiboga East MP and Chairperson of the committee gave the report where he condemned the manner in which the unit conducted the eviction saying it was inhuman and without any due regard to human rights as the evicted the miners in two hours without prior notice, didn’t allow them to collect their property and were involved in extortion.
They have recommended that in order to save the face of the Uganda Police also that before more scandals erupt, the minerals protection unit should me disbanded immediately and the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development do their work in a more professional manner.
Keefa says although the unit is supposed to be responsible for planning of policy formulation, supervision and monitoring of mineral security in the country, it has been structured to report directly to the Inspector General of Police.
This will clear as a service request by the ministry but bring of the IGP who also set up the scope of operation. The committee says its not clear how it is being facilitated as they seem to be even above the known police structures and were operating outside an incomplete disregard of district security structures.
The committee also noted irregularities the licensing regime of the miners with other groups getting licenses in already licensed areas. They also want speculators who are hording licenses without meeting the obligations of licenses penalized.
According to the report some companies like C- Asian mining and Minerals claim that they are doing exploration yet they are already mining.
A license is also issued to an individual Conrad Tuhaire for an area that had already had an exploration license by C- Asian as per issuance states by the ministry.