Kyagulanyi promises to solve Dura limestone quarry controversy

Kyagulanyi during his campaign trail. File photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The National Unity Platform-NUP presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu has promised to resolve the controversy surrounding Dura limestone quarry that has divided leaders and residents of Kamwenge and Kitagwenda districts.

In 2008, Uganda Wildlife Authority – UWA permitted Hima Cement Limited to mine limestone from the quarry that is inside Queen Elizabeth National Park. The company acquired a mining lease from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development to go on with its activities in an area measuring 450 hectares.

All went well until 2015 when Kanara sub county that is found in present day Kitagwenda district and Kamwenge sub county started pulling ropes, with each one claiming the geographical ownership of the quarry.

Kamwenge district leadership then intervened and secured surveyors from the Lands Ministry who reported that the quarry falls in Nkongoro parish in Kamwenge sub county and not Kanara sub county. The issue seemed to have been resolved at that time.

However, the feuding resurfaced in July 2019 when Kitagwenda County broke away from Kamwenge and became an independent district. The Kitagwenda district leadership led by the interim LCV chairperson, Robert Mugabe argued that the quarry is within their jurisdiction and all royalties were supposed to go to their accounts, something that Kamwenge leaders rejected.

As the disagreement heightened, the State Minister for Mineral Development, Sarah Opendi intervened in August and promised to find a lasting solution within a month. However, nothing has been done since then despite the fact that she stopped Hima from paying the royalties of about Shillings 170 million annually that was going to Kamwenge.

While campaigning in Kamwenge district on Tuesday, Kyagulanyi said the controversy was persisting because of poor leadership under the National Resistance Movement -NRM government. He said the disadvantage is both districts are not receiving the royalties that would be used for development purposes. Kyagulanyi said once elected, he will ensure the issue is put to rest so that the residents can start benefiting from the quarry maximally.

He also pledged to restore Uganda railway that will connect Kamwenge to other districts as one way of easing transport for the farmers. During his rally at Kamwenge Secondary School, Kyagulanyi noted that Kamwenge residents are known for growing maize but they have not benefited because there is no cheaper means of transport connecting the farmers to other districts with potential buyers.

Isaac Nabasa, one of the NUP supporters in Kamwenge said he and his colleagues are now doing their best to ensure Kyagulanyi gets maximum support from Kamwenge so that he can improve on their livelihood with his good plans.



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