Trouble as Kitagwenda and Kamwenge districts fight over quarry escalates
Authorities in Kamwenge and Kitagwenda districts have failed to agree on the sharing of the Dura limestone quarry royalties with each claiming ownership of the quarry in contestation.
The disagreement follows an argument in which Kamwenge district is accused of taking 90% of the royalties which Kitagwenda opposed, saying it is unfair.
Since 2019, both districts have been in the claim of ownership of the quarry in question. The then minister for lands and mineral development, Sarah Opendi, who visited the site called on Hima cement factory to stay the payment of royalties to either districts until the issue of ownership is settled.
In 2021, the state minister of local government, Victoria Businge Rusoke, also intervened and ordered for fresh boundary opening of the quarry; however, both districts have since failed to raise the bill for the re-survey by the ministry of lands and since the matter has never settled.
In October 2023, Ismail Mushemeza, the Kitagwenda district LC V chairperson, wrote a letter to president Museveni seeking for his intervention into the conflict of the quarry in contestation. The president responded by asking the Minister Rusoke to convene a dialogue meeting and involve both parties to discuss the sharing of royalties pending a re-survey.
On Saturday last week, while in a dialogue meeting convened by Minister Rusoke at St. Joseph’s Inn in Fort Portal, both parties failed to agree on the sharing of royalties.
Mushemeza, argues that the district cannot accept to benefit from only 10% of the royalties because they are rightful owners of the quarry calling for another survey to establish its clear location.
Gerald Twebaze, the Kamwenge district speaker said that they cannot accept the sharing of the royalties because they have a clear report by the ministry of lands which highlights Kamwenge as the rightful owner of the quarry. He asked Kitagwenda authorities to provide evidence that challenges the ministry’s report.
Dorothy Nyakato Nzibonera, the Kitagwenda district woman Member of Parliament, called for the intervention of technical people to provide facts which she said will pave a way for a right decision on the matter.
Based on the contradicting submissions from both parties, Minister Rusoke, recommended another expanded meeting with other line offices of ministry of lands, energy and the Attorney General to further discuss and provide a way forward on the matter and provide a lasting solution.
In 2008, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) permitted Hima Cement Limited to mine limestone from the quarry. The company, which later acquired a mining lease from the Ministry of Energy, had been remitting over UGX 170 million annually to Kamwenge District and its now close to 1 billion since the payment was stayed.