Dokolo Residents Protest Sale of Mining Area

1908 Views Dokolo, Uganda

In short
Their action stemmed from a recent move by the district leadership to demarcate the land for sale to International Lifeline Fund, a Non-Governmental Organisation implementing small institutional stove programme.

Residents of Agwata Sub County in Dokolo district are protesting a move by the district authorities to sell off a clay mining site to International Lifeline Fund.

The eight hectares' piece of land is located in Amuda and Tetugu parishes.

Residents argue that this is community land which has been used by locals to mine clay soil for moulding pots and brick making for generations.

Their action stemmed from a recent move by the district authorities to demarcate the land for sale to International Lifeline Fund, a Non-Governmental Organisation implementing small institutional stove programme.

Based in Lira, the NGO distributes insulated clay stoves made entirely from locally available organic materials to institutions like schools, orphanages, and churches.

According to records at International Lifeline Fund, currently the production centre in Lira has the capacity to produce approximately 1,000 household stoves each month and that they want to expand their productions.

Now residents believe that once International Lifeline Fund comes closer to them, it will deny them local markets for their products.

They also argue that once sold off, they will be denied chances of mining in this area and yet this has been their source of livelihood.

In a meeting on Sunday evening at the mining site, the affected residents instituted a 20-member committee consisting of all the area Local council officials to forward their grievances to the district authorities.

Richard Atuti, the committee secretary in an interview said, the mine is benefiting a total of 1,500 residents of the area.

Atuti says bringing development partners closer to them is a bright idea but that such partners should not come to compete with locals.

Geoffrey Ojungo, the area Local Council 3 chairperson is in support of the residents to resist the sale of the area. He argues that the mine belongs to the people of Agwata and insists that they will not allow the district to sell it off.

Fredrick Odongo, the District chairperson says the residents were under-utilising the land. He argues that International Lifeline Fund would employ some of the residents who will directly benefit if the NGO opens its stove-making factory in the area.

Odongo also insists that the land in question belongs to the district and there is no way residents will block the sale.