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RUCODET Faces Uncertainty Future in Moroto :: Uganda Radionetwork
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RUCODET Faces Uncertainty Future in Moroto

John Bosco Logwe, the new chairperson of RUCODET, says that much as they started well, they didn’t take into consideration, the sustainability plans for RUCODET especially on the education fund.
John Bosco Logwe, Chairperson of RUCODET.

Audio 3

Rupa Community Development Trust- RUCODET, a community organization formed to protect land and mining rights for the community in Karamoja faces uncertain future due to lack of funds. Registered on December 1st, 2017, RUCODET gained a lot of momentum in 2019 after negotiating for surface rights for the local communities worth Shillings 2.6 billion.

ROCUDET registered four community land titles in areas earmarked by potential mining companies. Sunbelt secured one community title for a chunk of land measuring 3.3 square kilometers at UGX. 1.8 billion while Mechanized Agro got 32 acres at UGX. 800 Million. The land was leased for 21 years.

A total of 147 households directly affected by the lease were received Shillings four million each. RUCODET identified 75 children and put aside Shillings 100 million for their education. The trust has plans to establish businesses, set up offices and register all the land in the sub county, among others.

RUCODET is the first community organization to negotiate for more than a billion Shillings in surface rights. Before RUCODET, two mining companies; Jan Mangul and DAO Marble had acquired mining leases without adequately compensating the communities for the surface rights in the sub-county as provided for under The Mining Act, 2003.

DAO Marble acquired four square kilometers and gave the communities only 80 million Shillings while Jan Mangul accessed the mining lease without paying any money to the community for surface rights. Even Tororo Cement, the first mining company to acquire mining lease in Moroto in 2002 only paid the communities of Kosiroi, Tapac Sub County Shillings 200 million in 2018.

Tororo Cement has two mining leases in Tapac Sub County, the first license covers 2,001 hectares and the second license covers 51.8 square kilometers. The land question has been a contentious issue in Karamoja. Some of the companies with licenses other than the mining lease, location or retention licenses have acquired land in the region using their allies; the Karimojong elites and local leaders.

RUCODET came at a time some of the leaders had started personalizing companies. In the ninth council, a battle broke out between the Moroto District Chairperson, Mark Aol Musoka and the Council Speaker, Caesar Lometo over the proceeds from DAO Marble. This left the communities at the mercy of the investors who were seen exploited at the site as the company failed to fulfil all the pledges made while accessing the land.  But the future of RUCODET now hangs in balance.  

The trust lacks operational funds after spending all the money in registration and compensation of the community whose land has been leased out.  John Bosco Logwe, the new chairperson of RUCODET, says that much as they started well, they didn’t take into consideration, the sustainability plans for RUCODET especially on the education fund. 

He notes that out of 75 children sponsored by RUCODET in the first year, several others need help yet the funds available are not able to complete tuition for the first batch of students.  According to Logwe, whereas putting up sustainability plans was important, they needed to please the communities whose land had been leased out to build trust from others.

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When asked how the management of RUCODET is managing daily operations, Logwe said that he uses personal money to travel or call for board meetings.

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Jackson Angella, an elder in Rupa is optimistic that RUCODET will change the lives of the communities in Rupa and Moroto district especially if the issue of personalities is addressed. Angela says RUCODET is a model for Karimojong communities especially in areas where minerals exist.

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However, Gerald Eneku, the Mines Inspector in Karamoja says RUCODET’s success depends on the individuals and partners surrounding it. Although he didn’t explain further, Eneku indicated that the organization has suffered fraud from some elements he described as selfish and money minded individuals.