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29% of Busia Gold Company Staff get Covid-19; Residents Want it Temporarily Closed

Dr. Willis Syongola the Busia district health officer says 46 from a sample of 159 tested last were found positive for Covid-19 last week respectively. Scared residents want the mine shut down for a while, but deputy RDC says the District Task Force has no power to close it

Audio 5



Residents in Busia district are demanding for the closure of Wagagai gold mining company after nearly a third of the workers checked tested positive for covid-19.

    

The said gold mining company has over 400 workers and occupies more than  2,000 acre of land in the four villages of; Alupe, Amagoro, Akipenet and Agoriat all in Mawero parish, Buteba sub county of Busia district. 

   

According to residents, their lives are at risk to contract with the disease because company management has failed to isolate covid-19 patients. The patients are left interacting with community members helping the disease to spread all over the area.

   

Dr. Willis Syongola the Busia district health officer in phone interview says  that 19 security guards, and 27 casual laborers tested positive for covid-19 on Tuesday and Saturday last week respectively. The results were got from 159 samples picked from the workers.

Philip Ekisa, the L.C.1 chairman Alupe village also in-charge verification of employees in the gold company, says that the delay to isolate the workers puts life of community members at  risk to contract with the disease.       

//Cue in:   “Is that the…  

Cue out:…that’s our wary”//      

Mary Nabwire, a resident from Alupe village says they want relevant authorities come up and close the gold mining company before they all get affected.

     

//Cue in:   “Wachina wantu ngapi…. 

Cue out:...akuna amani kabisa”// 

     

George Onyanga, Sofia Asilo, among other residents says that they want all workers to be closed within the company for a given period of time and also government do mass covid-19 testing in the area.    

According to Onyanga, foreign investors in the area have not minded about the lives of community members.      

//Cue in:   “Government to close….  

Cue out:…safe even the”// 

   

Sofia Asilo Appealed to government not to look only at the money it gets from the company but to be mindful of people's life.    

//Cue in:  “Tango corona eyaake….  

Cue out;…kwajiili yeye niwetu”//

  

Paul Kalikwan, the deputy resident district commissioner  says that they don’t have mandates to close the company as the district task force. He appealed to gold company management to liaise with the rapid response team to ensure all the patients are taken to home base care. 

 

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Cue out:….it kills recently”//   

Charles Isabirye, the overall supervisor at Wagagai gold mining company in a phone interview with our reporter says that the 19 security guards were taken back to their home districts and the other casual laborers most of whom are from Busia were also dismissed.    

End