Environment: Government blamed for licensing quack investors

Friday April 26 2019

Sand mining activities in Lwera

Sand mining activities in Lwera 


Kampala. Advocates for Natural Resources and Development, an advocacy organisation, have blamed government for licensing quack Chinese investors who have invested in mineral extraction activities that have caused environment destruction and affected surface rights of people whose land falls within licensed areas.
This was revealed during a training of judicial officials at the Judicial Training Institute (JTI) in Kampala yesterday to equip them with knowledge on how to dispense justice in cases relating to extractive activities and environment.

Mr Frank Tumusiime, who represented Advocates for Natural Resources and Development, said there is a tendency by some Chinese companies in Uganda not to follow established environmental standards.
“The regulator is to blame for this; they let in people without any qualification or training in environment management, to act as investors. Most of the time these quack investors have found themselves on the wrong side of mining. The regulations ought to be made tougher on these investors,” he explained.

Mr Tumusiime, who is also a lawyer, argued that most of the time the Chinese companies start to extract minerals without conducting proper environmental impact assessment and they have sued several of them, especially those extracting sand in Lwera wetland, Nasitta, Nkozi Sub-county in Mpigi and Lake Victoria. According to Justice Henry Peter Adonyo, the country is currently experiencing a wide range of extractive activities, including logging, commercial farming for sugar, flowers, cement production, sand and lime stone mining among others.
He said these, if not properly handled, can create serious environment problems.

Justice Adonyo added that all these activities often time come with general environmental destruction, murky operations, corruption and even conflict over generated revenues.
Justice John Eudes Keitirima noted that in adjudication of cases, they have mainly been relying on expert assessment and valuers’ reports, forgetting to involve the affected parties who are key to reaching a proper verdict.