Connect with us

    Why Do You Want To Push Locals Out Of Business In Favour Of Foreigners! Artisanal Miners Appeal To M7 Over Unfair Policies…



    Artisan miners

    Artisanal and Small Scale miners in the districts of Busia and Namayingo have appealed to president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni over unfair policies put in place  to regulate mining operations in the country.

    The miners through their umbrella body the Uganda Artisanal and Small Scale Miners of Eastern Uganda led by their chairperson Stephen Engidoh Paade claim that the unfair policies and laws are aimed at pushing them out of business to favour the wealthy and big investors in the sector who are basically foreigners.

    He  cited policies that ban them from using mercury and the fine of Shs120m as penalty against those found using it.

    They are also against the requirement of depositing Shs380m before they start the said business. Paade said that the mining industry employs more than 30,000 people in Busia alone amid challenges of environmental destruction.

    He said that while it is true that mercury affects people, there is a need for the authorities to move gradually because the blanket ban on mercury use will be counterproductive.

    “Let us sensitise the people on the dangers before doing anything to eliminate it or bring an alternative and also show them what the government intends to do to protect their livelihoods and the environment,” he said.

    Paade warned that the blanket ban on mercury use would lead to smuggling it into the country which is against the country’s development. He pleaded to government to provide a solution as an alternative to the use of mercury.

    Josephine Aguttu, a leader at Tiira Small Scale Mining Association in Busia District lamented over the gaps in the online system used to apply for license saying it gives speculators a chance to acquire mining licenses on their land leading to disputes.

    “It is unfortunate that we had a prospecting exploration that was expiring but upon checking on the cadastral map, it showed that someone else had been given a license on my land where I was earning a living. So the person with a mining license expects me to vacate my land because I am not allowed to mine without permission,” she said.

    Aguttu questioned how the person with the mineral right can harmoniously extract without destabilizing the original occupant of the land.

    She explained that gold is a commodity that has a ready market but the challenge the miners are facing is how it is valued, since the miners are not in a position to determine the purity of their gold.

    “At the Ministry of Energy, there are people working in the laboratories where we take our small gold for testing the purity as we pay taxes to government, but why can’t the government bring such people at regional level so that we can take samples and determine out gold to avoid being cheated at the market” she said.

    Stephen Baraza, a miner in Namayingo complained that the Shs120m  fine is an abuse and was made out of a misconception that gold mining is a profitable venture whereas it is not.

    “When you look around, people are poor and setting a fine of Shs120m for use of mercury yet there is no alternative means you are going to imprison very many people from the community” said Baraza said.

    The miners made the complaints at a meeting held in Busia at the weekend to lay strategies on how to voice out their discontent against the regulations.

    Joshua Rukundo, a senior Project officer at Solidaridad, a regional advocacy body said in a separate interview that mining as a source of livelihood is very essential to the society where it is happening and also to the modern civilization.

    To ensure sustainable mining, Mr Rukundo said there is need to consider how to carry out the activity without causing the adverse effects to the environment as well as protecting the rights of women and children but with the community in the lead.

    He appealed for stakeholder engagements to ensure that the award of mining licenses is done with the rights of land owners and occupants protected to avoid disputes.

    “We have to get stakeholders on table to understand that you have a right to mine as per the license but the community has a right to live as per their right to own the land. There has to be a clear way by which a licensed entity agrees legally with land owners to relinquish land and hand it over to the mining activities without being cheated.

    Rukundo appealed to authorities to gradually reduce the use of mercury in the gold mines rather than imposing a blanket ban which may not be effective.

    “This ban on mercury affects the miners directly and their livelihoods. If the case is that we cannot abolish mercury in one night, efforts should be taken to help the miners to gradually reduce the use of mercury as we explore viable alternatives,” he said.

    He added the current alternatives to use are out of the financial ability that the artisanal miners are operating with, like setting up a plant which is expensive for them.

    “By implementing the ban, it is going to increase the number of people in prison because of using mercury. Someone looking at Shs100,000 a day and you want them to pay a fine of Shs120m and or three years in prison is not worth it” he said.

    Early this year, Parliament passed the Mining and Minerals Act which President Museveni signed in October and it recognizes artisanal miners who are required to pay about Shs380m  for a license.


    By Sengooba Alirabaki



    EXCLUSIVE: Crisis At Judiciary As Kabaka Mutebi, Tycoon Sudhir Are Set To Evict Anti-Corruption, Crime War, Mengo, Mwanga Ii Courts Over Rent Arrears…



    L-R: Tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia, Chief Justice Dollo and Kabaka Mutebi II

    The Permanent Secretary and Secretary to Judiciary Pius Bigirimana has exclusively confirmed to the mighty Grapevine that the Judiciary is handling administratively the eviction threats from Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, the Kabaka of Buganda Kingdom and city businessman Sudhir Ruparelia.

    “I cannot comment much on those issues but we are handling them administratively,” Bigirimana said in a telephone interview.

    Multiple credible sources in judiciary intimated to theGrapevine that Kabaka Mutebi’s government has given judiciary three options; either to pay their rent arrears which are in billions of shillings, vacate their building or buy them.

    The building in question house Mwanga II and Mengo Chief Magistrate’s Court.

    “We don’t have the money to buy the building, and the only option we have now is to vacate and we are working overtime to make sure that before the end of this year, we vaccate Kabaka Mutebi’s building. They have already issued the eviction notice and we cannot wait to be humiliated by Court bailiffs. Because if we insist, we risk seeing our court files being throuwn out and making headlines,” a top judicial officer said.

    He added that the judiciary is still searching for a suitable building where to shift to. The one they got near Noah’s Ark Secondary School Kabuusu was rejected because it can only house Mwanga II Court yet their goal is to get a building which can house both courts as it is at Kabaka’s building.

    The insider added that another building at Wakulukuku was also rejected because it is too far. The two courts at Kabaka’s building handle cases from Lubaga division and Natete, yet the Wankulukuku building was too small and could only house Mengo Chief Magistrate’s Court.

    The building where Kabaka is evicting the judiciary is part of the first properties that  president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s government returned to Kabaka in 1993.

    Buganda Kingdom  was not reached for a comment because Owekitiibwa Noah Kiyimba, the Kingdom spokesperson’s known phone known numbers were not going through, We were later told that he is out of the country.

    “He travelled with Premier Charles Peter Mayiga to the United States Of America. And he is the only person authorized to speak on that matter,” a top minister in Kabaka’s government told theGrapevine.

    Last year, Mengo wrote to president Museveni’s government demanding rent arrears worth Shs.215bn.

    Among the government properties that are seated on Kabaka’s land include Entebbe State House.

    Mayiga told the media early this month that government is not paying rent on which State House is seated.

    Others government buildings that have huge rent arrears include sub county buildings, military barracks, prisons, schools and others.

    However, controversial city lawyer Hassan Male Mabirizi protested the move to evict the judiciary through a deadly letter to Kabaka Mutebi’s lawyers of K&K Advocates.

    In his letter Mabirizi wants the Kabaka to halt demanding rent and evicting government agencies from their buildings until the determination of his petition he filed at the Constitutional Court.

    “Under paragraph 4 of the above petition, 1, among others prayed orders Nullifying all arrangements, settlements and understanding between Kabaka and Government of Uganda that Kabaka be compelled to refund to government of Uganda all monies received under cover of ground rent, lease premiums” the letter reads in parts.

    Last year, the Judiciary vacated Kasangati Magistrate Court which was also owned by Buganda building. They relocated to another remote place in Namavundu.


    The judiciary also faces another eviction from city businessman Sudhir Ruparelia, the chairman Ruparalia Group of Companies who wants to take over the buildings which are housing the Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court, the Anti-Corruption Chief Magistrate Court, Crimes War Division of the High Court.

    Highly placed sources in Judiciary revealed to theGrapevine that Sudhir informed them that he bought the said building located at Kololo, a Kampala suburb from the owner (names withheld) and he told the judiciary to leave because he wants to use it for other businesses.

    Sources said that the judiciary top management decided to shift to Col. John Mugenyi’s building at  Wandegeya opposite the Ministry of Health headquarters.

    Col. Mugenyi’s building has been empty since the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) vacated it early this year. The judiciary rented it to house the Supreme Court.

    Insiders in the judiciary disclosed that they are very sure that by the end of this year, the Supreme Court will be shifted to the new building at the High Court Criminal Division near City Square which is going to house the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal.

    The Court of Appeal is currently renting at Twed Towers in Nakasero, a Kampala suburb.

    Sources further disclosed that the High Court Land Division and Civil Division of the High Court will remain renting at Twed Towers because they all cannot fit in the new building at the High Court Criminal Division.


    By Sengooba Alirabaki


    Continue Reading


    Report Exposes How Top Clerics Sexually Abuse, Extort And Impoverish Ugandans; Gov’t Placed On Spot For Violating Muslims’ Rights…



    The 25th Annual Report on the State of Human Rights And Freedoms In Uganda In 2022 has exposed how top clerics sexually abuse, extort and impoverish their believers.

    The 25th Human Rights Annual Report for the year 2022 was compiled by Uganda Human Rights Commission and was publicly launched on Friday 19th May, 2023.

    The report defines Religion as a human relation to divinity, reverence, worship, obedience and submission to the mandates and precepts of supernatural or superior beings.

    The report notes that the right to freedom of religion or belief is guaranteed in a number of core international, including regional human rights instruments and under customary international laws.

    It further highlights that Uganda is a multi-religious country with various coexisting beliefs and practices and the freedom of religion is enshrined in the constitution which guarantees the right to practice any religion and manifest it through worship, observance, practice and teaching.

    According to the report, Uganda has a population of approximately 40.9 million people of which 86.4% identify as Christians with Pentecostals who believe in Jesus Christ as the son of God accounting for 30% of the total population.

    Other religions include Muslims, African tradition, Salvation Army, Bahai, Jehovah’s Witness, Presbyterian, Mormons, Jews, Buddhist and non-religions which account for 1.7% of the total population.

    According to the report, in 2014, Catholics accounted for 39.3%, Anglicans where 23.0%, Moslems where 13.7%, Pentecostals or Born Again where 11.1%, Seventh-Day Adventists were 1.7%, believers on traditional were 0.1, Baptist were 0.3%, Orthodox were 0.1%, Others were 1.4% and those without any Religion were 0.2%.

    The report however mentions a number of concerns where clerics are taking advantage of innocent people who are trying to understand their religion by manipulating them which has resulted in bankruptcy and further monetary issues to the believers.

    The report pines Pentecostal clerics who take themselves as celebrities and want to live lavish lifestyles thus placing their monetary hunger for material gains above salvation and surviving on church members’ donations.

    “However, whenever monetary donations become a frequent point of discussion and always a point of emphasis, it is possible that these religious authority figures are less concerned with spreading the gospel and more interested in lining their own pockets,” the report highlights.

    The report adds, “This is especially more likely whenever monetary donations are stressed as effective means to garner favour in the eyes of God and increase the chances of getting into heaven.

    “In many cases, this is a blatant act of manipulation and exploitation of vulnerable church members’ reverence for God and their hope for a fruitful afterlife.”

    The report adds that Born Again pastors have succeeded in portraying themselves as tiny-gods whose words are to be taken as gospel and whose demands are to be obeyed with both haste and minimal question.

    The report explains that the Born Again pastors behave in that way because of the absence of a regulatory framework like it is for traditional religions like Christianity (Catholics and Protestants) and Islam who have laws requiring leaders to complete training before taking charge of their congregations.

    The report discloses that such trainings teaches leaders in these traditional religions policies including the conducts of priests and leaders as well as mechanisms for managing complaints and conflicts unlike some Born-Again pastors, teachers, apostles, prophets, bishops and evangelists.

    The report also accuses religious leaders of promoting gender discrimination, exclusion and inequality against women and girls.

    This is done through presenting negative stereotypes about women and reinforcing traditional views about their subordination to men and this is not limited to any particular religion or region.

    “The discrimination against women in religious doctrines and in the practice of religion, including the refusal to admit women as priests has had a pervasive effect throughout society of maintaining the belief in the inferiority of women,” the report states.

    It adds, “In many religions throughout the world, including the Roman Catholic, Mormon, Orthodox, Jewish and Islam, women are denied equal opportunity to learn and teach religious knowledge which is available to men. Women cannot be ordained or given leadership positions in most religion.”

    It further gives the example of the Jewish men who begin each day with a ritualised prayer thanking God for not having made them women and in Orthodox Judaism where women can never be rabbis or mingle with men at prayer in the synagogue.

    “Church leaders are on the frontline in attacking women and their bodies often become specific targets for religious groups to exercise control and reinforce power dynamics.”

    The report established that most family-related issues have a faith dimension including marriage, divorce, custody and inheritance.

    The report cited the form of racism where in the Islamic religion, tradition and culture are seen as a threat and often lead to provocation, hostility and intolerance through threatening, harassment, abuse, incitement and intimidation of Muslims.

    The report noted that in 2021, the Uganda Muslim Youth Development Forum reported to the Commission that some Muslims are experiencing employment discrimination.

    They cites a case in which a telecom company dismissed a staffer after she ignored instructions not to wear a veil at work.

    The report further cites a number of complaints from Muslims accusing the government of persecuting them over involvement in terrorism acts across the country.

    “It is discriminatory for the government to always raid mosques and violently arrest sheikhs without following the law and detaining them incommunicado without producing them in courts of law,” the report quotes Kira Municipality legislator Asuman Basalirwa.

    The report also mentions the ongoing infightings among Pentecostal churches which are mainly caused by power struggle dynamics within the religious leadership, differences in ideological inclinations and the desire to dominate the religious space.

    The report also shows that churches have established media houses such as radios and televisions which they use as platforms to attack each other.

    They further state that in some religious practices, worshippers have to make public confessions of private matters, particularly family conflicts, as well as make public their illnesses or troubles to obtain deliverance which violates their rights to privacy that is enshrined in the 1995 Constitution as Amended.

    The report shows that a number of complaints have been filed at the commission and at police against churches who usually surpass their limits of freedom of worship and infringe on other people’s rights especially churches near residential areas where the noise they make violates other people’s right to a clean and healthy environment.

    The commission was concerned  over the frequent reports that everybody wants to start a church or drinking joint in residential areas without any plan to regulate noise during the day and night when people are sleeping and working.

    The report adds that people’s rights to form families have also been violated because young people are forced to have weddings which has raised gender-based violence in communities.

    “Some families break up because of the difference in opinion of worship by children in respect of where their parents grew up worshiping from and wedded from,” the report states.

    The report advised that places of worship need to be regulated because many people resort to churches for redress due to the biting levels of poverty and limited health services where majority of Ugandans are unable to meet their medical expenses particularly for long-term illnesses.

    The report states, “Some church compounds and pastors’ homes have been turned into hospitals with patients making makeshift shelters as they await their healing and deliverance.  Some clerics are accused of discouraging their followers from taking their medication and others engage in prolonged fasting periods that are harmful to their health.”

    The commission established incidents of coercion in converting people to various religions that have also amounted to the loss of properties which is done through the promise of wealth and influence.

    “With the high unemployment and poverty levels some people have become victims of this coercion and there are reports of alleged exhortation for scholarships and better lives,” They disclose.

    They add, “Pastors are accused of fleecing believers of their hard earned money to sow seeds for better life and this is lack of transparency and accountability of millions of monies collected from believers seldom complain of these manipulations since their faith prohibits them from touching God’s anointed.”

    The commission recommended that president Museveni’s government should put a regulatory framework for religious institutions to curb the abuse, manipulation, exploitation and extortion of followers.

    The further recommended that the government should ensure that economic empowerment programmes targeting the youth are equally distributed to prevent religious extremism in the country.

    The Commission also asked government to embark on awareness programmes to prevent the exploitation and abuse of people exercising their freedom of religion.


    By Sengooba Alirabaki


    Continue Reading


    KAA Lawyers In Tears: Supreme Court Judge Dismisses Shs.45bn Award In Costs Against Bank Of Uganda In Sudhir’s Shs.397bn Case…



    L-R: Justice Chibita, Dr. Sudhir Ruperalia and BOU's Dr. Michael Atingi-Ego

    Commercial lawyers at the Nakasero based law firm, the Kampala Associated Advocates (KAA) are in tears after a Supreme Court judge dismissed their Shs.45bn award costs against Bank of Uganda in Dr. Sudhir Ruperelia’s Shs.397bn case.

    In his ruling, sitting as a single judge, Justice Mike Chibita overturned the registrar’s ruling awarding lawyers Shs.45bn and giving them Shs500m after taxation.

    The registrar’s ruling was based on lawyers’ argument that Dr. Sudhir and his Meera Investments limited instructed them for legal representation at a fee of Shs45bn.

    “It is trite that the instruction fees should not be too excessive so as to discourage the public from accessing the courts of law and not too low to demoralise new recruits to the profession. The award of Shs45bn in the circumstances was excessive, oppressive and punitive,” Justice Mike Chibita said.

    He added, “It amounts to an injustice to the applicant and must be interfered with. From the foregoing, I hereby set aside the sum of Shs45bn as instruction fees and substitute the same with an award of Shs500m.”

    The judge also disagreed with the registrar’s decision to award Shs50m to each of the interlocutory applications the lawyers won in the entire case.

    He explained that there was not much work done by the victorious lawyers because the case on appeal was withdrawn before the hearing. Instruction fees is the money paid to lawyers (advocates) for the work done on a given case.

    In 2017, Crane Bank in receivership filed a suit in the Commercial Division of the High Court seeking recovery of Shs397bn from Dr. Sudhir and Meera Investments Limited alleging that they mismanaged the bank’s money.

    However, Crane bank in receivership lost the case on technicality after retired commercial court judge David Wangutusi dismissed the entire matter on grounds that Crane Bank lost its legal powers to sue and to be sued since it was placed under receivership.

    Bank of Uganda through a number of lawyers including Kalenge, Bwanika, Ssawa and Company Advocates and others appealed the decision and lost at the higher court.

    In 2016, Bank of Uganda under the leadership of Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile placed Crane Bank under receivership and it was bought by DFCU bank, a process which the court declared illegal.

    It is not yet clear whether KAA lawyers led by Edson Karuhanga, Joseph Mastiko, John Jet Tumwebaze and senior lawyers like Elly Karuhanga, Dr. Sam Mayanja, the state lands ministers, Peter Kabatse will appeal against justice Chibita’s decision.


    By Sengooba Alirabaki


    Continue Reading

    like us


    theGrapevine is a subsidiary of Newco Publications Limited, a Ugandan multimedia group.
    We keep you posted on the latest from Uganda and the World. COPYRIGHT © 2022
    P.O Box 5511, Kampala - Uganda Tel: +256-752 227640 Email:
    theGrapevine is licenced by Uganda Communications Commission (UCC)