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Busia Residents Protest Delayed Compensation by Gold Mine Company

Busia district leased over 2,000 hectares of land to Wagagai Gold Mining Company to pave way for the construction a gold mine refinery in the area. However, the company was supposed to compensate the locals who were occupying the land, before the lease.

Audio 4

A section of residents affected by the construction of a gold refinery in Buteba sub-county, Busia district has complained over their delayed compensation.     

Busia district leased over 2,000 hectares of land to Wagagai Gold Mining Company to pave way for the construction a gold mine refinery in the area. However, the company was supposed to compensate the locals who were occupying the land, before the lease.

Although the construction of the refinery has started, a number of the affected people are yet to be compensated. They comprise more than 115 households in four villages of Akipenet, Amagoro, Alupe and Amonikakine in Buteba sub-county.

Records show that only 80 households have been dully compensated. Those whose compensation is pending are calling for government intervention to hasten the process. They say that they are living in an appalling situation because the construction blocked access roads, contaminated water sources with chemicals, and caused flooding in the area.

Moses Wanzira, a resident whose home is fenced off by the company says he refused to sign on the payment slip of 1.8 million Shillings which was meant to facilitate the family to leave the place. He noted that the payment cannot even buy him another piece of land elsewhere and build a good house.   

//Cue in; "Wanataka watowe…  

Cue out...tutta yendeeya wapi."//  

George Onyanga, another affected resident says that their stay in the area has subjected them to a pathetic experience because their land was encroached on but the company management has severally ignored them whenever they raise concerns.    

//Cue in; "Even us and…  

Cue out...are very bad."//   

Philip Ekisa, the LCI Chairperson for Alupe village says that the owners of the company have failed to fulfil their pledge before the construction started.   

//Cue in; "The electricity and…  

Cue out…should be compensated."//  

Busia District Chairperson Geoffrey Wandera says that he has received several complaints from residents and shared them with the Ministry of Energy. He adds that he intends to hold a meeting with locals and company management to harmonize the matter.

 

//Cue in; "The whole thing…

Cue out...going to make"//     

Godfrey Isabirye, the site supervisor of Wagagai Gold Mining Company denied the accusations, saying all persons affected by the works were compensated. "All affected persons were compensated and those who were fenced in requested management to allow them to stay within as they look for alternative settlements," he told our reporter on phone.