4 Unfiltered, uninhibited…just the gruesome truth ISSUE 112, September 1-30, 2015 Turkana County set to be Kenya’s economic natural resource hub By HENRY OWINO The future of Turkana County is bright thanks to the recent discovery of water and oil resources on the one hand and the devolving of county governments. Turkana was among the regions in the country that had been marginalised since independence by successive governments. However, while the County is located in an arid land, its natural resources are not limited to oil. There could be more natural resources that are yet to be discovered there, now it has the opportunity to administer itself. Turkana County government is up and running in ensuring that the natural resources extracted are used to improve livelihoods. Coming from a humble beginning the County could be the nation’s economic hub. According to the County’s Governor Josphat Nanok, discovery of oil has brought to the forefront the plight of the Turkana people. Nanok describes the county as a place that was marginalised for pastoralists and nothing good could come from it. He regrets that Turkana residents were blacklisted and called names. “Oil discovery has ignited considerable new-found interest in this neglected region by non-Turkanas and foreign actors,” says Nanok. He hopes the oil deposits will help change perceptions that the county has nothing to offer and is only conflictprone. Nanok admits that there have been conflicts between the Turkanas and neighbouring communities. Nonetheless, he notes, this has been due to competition over scarce pasture and water resources. “This matter of cattle rustling has been addressed along our borders. The new conflict emerging could be as results of vested interest in oil discovery in Tullow and Lokichar in Turkana County,” discloses Nanok. While the discovery of oil in Turkana should offer relief to the suffering community in Kenya, it has now turned to be a point of conflict between the residents and the Tullow Oil Company. Neighbouring counties are also alleging that overflow oil is on their land and are hence making a claim to a share of the precious resource. Nanok notes that the county government is not taking the issue lightly and the matter is with the High Court. He says from his own experience, many countries with oil especially in Africa have gone through conflicts and other challenges. The oil has started attracting both local and foreign investors such as Tullow Oil Company (a British company-oil investor) camping at Lodwar and Lokichar, the major towns in Turkana county. The major areas that oil deposits have been discovered are the wells that are under Ngamia One, Twiga One South, Ekale One and Etuko. According to residents, Tullow Oil Company has been out to short-change their dreams. The company underestimates their skills and only hires outsiders to do the work they claim to be qualified for. They are demanding that tenders for food supply, charcoal and cleaning services be awarded to residents directly first; their vehicles be hired; advertisement made in Turkana local media not national media in Nairobi; and that Tullow only source from outside when expertise is not available locally. This has been another bone of contention between residents and the oil company and might be a possible source of future conflicts. Manuek Enkoloi laments that several residents’ land was taken away forcefully by the County government and they have not been compensated. He claims they have been forced to be squatters in their own County. Enkoloi says: “The county government’s move was not resisted by the community because oil had to be extracted.” However, it was dangerous and a big health hazard for residents to live there while heavy machines drill the mineral resource. “Everybody who used to live along the well where oil was discovered was displaced and has no proper place to live. Our County government is doing nothing about it yet it is aware we are suffering,” Enkoloi laments. However, according Peter Ekai, Deputy Governor Turkana County, they have formed an inter-agency committee to address issues raised by the community and reconcile the residents and Tullow Oil Company. Ekai is optimistic that the committee of experts will look at the residents’ interests critically before addressing their grievances. “The national and county governments as well as the community at large should have a consensus regarding grievances pinpointed for the drilling to continue without hitches,” says Ekai. He elaborates: “You know when a new project comes to a community everybody will want to be involved and benefit from it.” According to Ekai the oil in Turkana is not just for the locals, but will also benefit the whole country. “The Republic of Kenya needs to grow, and the exploration of oil in Turkana County has that future in terms of economic growth. I am sure it will propel this country to the next economic level,” Ekai reiterates. He notes that Kenya will save billions of shillings used to import oil from other countries once the local oil is available. If everything goes according to plan by the Ministry of Mining, oil production for local use will be ready by 2017. Kwale residents ‘duped’ with KSh1,000 for title deeds By OMAR MWALAGO A row is brewing between the Ministry of Mining and the Kwale County Government over the licensing and plans to extract minerals in the area. Kwale County leaders are accusing Mining Cabinet Secretary, Najib Balala of irregularly awarding mining companies’ exploration licenses without consultation. Led by Governor Salim Mvurya, Senator Boy Juma and MP Khatib Mwashetani, the leaders have vowed that they will not allow any exploration to take place in the area without consultations and their nod. The exploration of mineral is earmarked to take place in parts of Msambweni, Matuga and Lunga Lunga sub-counties. The controversy is so serious that, last month, the leaders held a special meeting to discuss it at Matuga School of Government. The revelation was made by retired chief Patrick Muli who presented a copy of Kenya Gazette notice of 10 April 2015 approving Supreme Resources Mining Company to go ahead with exploration. The leaders warned that they will not tolerate such issues and warned Balala against disrespecting County leadership by issuing licenses to investors and miners without consulting land owners. “Notice is given that an application under section 17 of the Mining Act has been made by Messrs Supreme Resources Kenya Limited for a special license to prospect for heavy minerals sand over an area described in the schedule herein and the application has been accepted for consideration,” read the Gazette notice in part. Another burning issue is that the affected area also touches gazetted forests which include Buda, Gongoni and Muhaka among others. “Balala cannot wake up out of the blues and without consulting land owners, go ahead to dish out licenses without recognising the County leadership. If he gave out the licenses, then let him find for them the land to do it,” said Mvurya. The Governor noted that residents have a right to demand and to be told about compensation, environmental concerns and benefits to the County and the national government before such projects are licensed. “No exploration will take place in the earmarked areas in Lunga Lunga, Msambweni and Matuga without consultation with the County leadership,” the Governor told Kwale residents. Turkana Governor, Josphat Nanok Koli, and his deputy, Peter Email, address the media in his office during a courtesy call. Below: One of the main streets in Lodwar town, the capital of Turkana County, where oil was discovered and is being mined by Tullow Oil Company. Pictures: Henry Owino Untold stories of extractive industry In the same breadth, Mvurya asked residents not to give out copies of their title deeds to anyone to avoid being duped. Mvurya said they were on the lookout and were aware that some villages like Fikirini and Kibuyuni have been earmarked for mining exploration before full consultation was done. The tough-talking Governor vowed that his government will not watch as its people get oppressed in their land. He warned the residents against “cheap job opportunities” used as propaganda by some companies to lure them into giving out their title deeds. On his part, Senator Juma Boy warned that Kwale people will not be taken for a ride by national government and its leaders. “Those who don’t know about Kwale let them go back to the history. We will not allow Balala to give mining licenses to companies because the land belongs to us,” Boy said. The leaders further claimed that chiefs and their assistants in Msambweni and Lunga Lunga were luring locals to surrender their title deeds to accept mining exploration by one of the firms. One of the companies, Base Titanium Mining Company, which is already exporting minerals from Maumba sand project, wants to do exploration of minerals at Ramisi in Msambweni and Vanga in Lunga Lunga. The process of getting consent from locals was stopped by Mvurya after he claimed the company did not consult the leaders. Locals led by Abdallah Mwamriango revealed how chiefs and their assistants were offering KSh1,000 to residents who surrendered their title deeds, but some were reported to have rejected the offer. “Those who have accepted have been forced to do so because they are dishing out money. This is why we rejected it because we felt the plan was not good,” said Mwamriango. According to Mwamriango, the administrators were warning locals that the national government was determined to ensure the exploration process takes place by all means. He made the remarks during a meeting between County leaders, national leaders and Base Titanium top officials. However, Msambweni Deputy County Commissioner, Mwangangi Mwania, admitted having allowed the company to get consent from locals behind their backs, but avoided the issue of money being dished out by chiefs. “Some of the locals accepted the project and others rejected. I thought the company would meet leaders after exhausting with locals but we can still go back and start afresh,” Mwania said. Base Resources General Manager for External Affairs and Development, Joe Schwarz said that the title deeds were returned to owners. “We don’t take original title deeds as claimed, we are only interested in photocopies which accompany the consent forms,” explained Schwarz. He said the company appreciates the issue of consultation between leaders and the locals. “It is true we need to open a new chapter of consultation, if locals accept we will do the exploration and if they reject we will forget about it,” Schwarz said. Meanwhile, according to Mvurya, a team consisting of county assembly and national government leaders will go to the ground and come up with a report. ‘We want those locals who were given KSh1,000 to surrender their title deeds to give back the money to the chiefs because that amounts to selling of their land,” reiterated Mvurya. Mvurya noted that the report will reveal everything that has been raised by locals. Senator Boy urged locals to avoid giving their title deeds to strangers or even to people they know.
5 Unfiltered, uninhibited…just the gruesome truth ISSUE 112, September 1-30, 2015 Women remain in the dark in coal deals By John Syengo Untold stories of extractive industry As all systems go for mining of coal in Kitui County, new findings show that the community especially women in the expansive Mui Coal basin are in the dark on the steps being taken in preparation for the mineral exploration. Women have been put in periphery in serious issues concerning relocation, compensation and job opportunities as few of them attend sensitisation meetings organized by the Ministry of Energy, civil society groups and elected leaders. Findings of a study carried by a civil society organisation in the four blocks A to D show that over 80 percent of the population in the basin comprising mainly women have never participated in any coal mining forums organised by key players in the industry. The study that focused on gender dimensions and implications of coal in the basin showed that 89.9 percent women will be largely affected by the mining process compared to men (10.1 percent). If the coal project was to take off today, women and other vulnerable groups will be disadvantaged as they will not benefit fully from the resource in addition to threatening family stability as stable marriage will be at stake, says the report. Research The research conducted by Centre for Governance and Development (CGD) with funding from the Canadian Government revealed growing disconnect between gazetted community liaison committee members and the community whose concerns have not been addressed. The report released in June, indicated that 89.2 percent of the respondents had neither heard of coal consultations forums nor participated in any coal meetings organised by key stakeholders compared to 11.8 percent who said they had attended the forums. Further analysis reveals that men participation in the project consultation was higher at 76.3 percent as opposed to that of women at 23.7 percent, said CGD Chief Executive Officer Kennedy Masime. Consequently, he said a small percentage of 17.40 respondents said they will participate in the coal mining activities compared to 49.80 percent who said they were not sure while 32.90 percent said they would not. On whether the extraction phases could provide equal opportunities across gender, 50.2 percent believed that men and women would be given equal opportunities while another 48.9 percent felt otherwise indicating minimal statistical disparities. Masime said women expressed reservations about receiving equal share in incidences where the husband had died while the land was still held jointly by the deceased From top: The Kitui Governor Julius Malombe addressing a meeting in Kitui town early this year. The Chief Geologist in the Ministry of Energy John Omenge shows community members from the Mui Coal Basin samples of coal collected from at number of exploration wells. LSK Chairman Eric Mutua (right)and the MCA for Mui ward Musee Mulongo (left) address the media at a Mwingi hotel on coal matters. A map of Kitui county showing the location of the Mui Coal Basin. Pictures: John Syengo brothers. ‘’ The study indicates that women are largely excluded from participating in the coal exploratory stages of the sector due to marginalisation at the consultative phases, cultural barriers and attitudes’’, said Masime. On anticipated socio-economic benefits, he said most of the respondents at 83.5 percent listed job creation as positive impact, improvement of road network 50.1 per cent; improvement of markets for their produce 43.3 percent and compensation 43.2 percent. Preferences A bigger percentage of the respondents, 60 percent, preferred to be given a leeway to buy land elsewhere for settlement while the rest said they would like to be settled in eco-villages not to disrupt their cultural beliefs. The respondents also gave divergent views on compensation cost per acre of land with 56 percent opting to be paid between shs 60,000 and Shs 700,000 while 27 percent settled on shs 2 million per acre. Masime stressed the need for gender- aware community development platform to ensure that accrued revenue on the mining proceeds becomes significant avenue for empowerment, especially of women. He urged the County government to undertake civic education to clarify existing policies, laws and regulations to safeguard the interests of the community. CGD findings is a replica of life testimony of most women who have attended mineral extractive industry forums in Kitui and expressed fears of separating with their husbands if the compensation deals is not handled properly. ‘’We have seen elsewhere where people have been relocated to pave way for mineral mining and men running away with the money leaving their wives and children languishing in poverty. We don’t want this to happen in Mui’’, said Breda Mutia, during a recent seminar organised by UNDP in Kitui. She is of the opinion that the compensation funds should be shared between three parties, the husband, the wife and their children. But this stand was bitterly objected to by male participants who said it will lead to direct disorientation of families. Another participant, Ruth Mutunga, was of the view that spouses and their children should first be taken for counseling sessions before the compensation money is released. ‘’When we talk of the family, we mean man, wife and children who are key beneficiaries of the compensation kitty and one party cannot claim to represent others as this is where the problem starts,’’ she said. Gender imbalance She said women started to be sidelined from the formation of the liaison community committees as the 2/3 gender rule was not observed as the committees are dominated by men. ‘’The issue of compensation should be handled soberly as it is not only sensitive, but can also lead to marginalisation of the community as it can easily affect family institution already in disarray due to social factors’’, said Dr. Temi Mutia, a UNDP Consultant. He says although coal-mining could be a blessing to the community, if not checked, it can have far reaching consequences if the issue of compensation and relocation is not adequately addressed. Dr. Mutia says contents of the yet to be signed addendum put in place after the community objected the Benefits Sharing Agreement (BSA) should be made public for the residents to make a decision. ‘’We are being told that coal mining will start anytime but the community is not in the know of what is contained in the addendum that outlines its stake in the mining process’’, said Dr. Mutia. As confusion reigns in the multi billion project, it has emerged that residents might wait longer for the project due to stand off between the investor, Fenxi Coal Mining Company and a local company which has a 30 per cent stake. Kitui County Executive for Environment and minerals investment, George Mulatya, said the project is dogged by problems pitying the investor and the local Great Lakes Company over payment of some fees. “I can confirm to you that the national government has written to the Chinese government complaining of the investor, and if there is no positive response, chances are that the concession might be cancelled and another investor sought’’, Mulatya maintained.