The Promise in Kerio
2017, an election year in Kenya. Displacement happens for an election that goes bad. Pledges and long standing issues get attention in the season of campaigns. Right holders lobby with a pinch of threat and the duty bearers listen.
Residents of Kerio Valley-Elgeyo Marakwet county are among the recent beneficiaries. The President while visiting the area on 11th June, promised compensation within two weeks amounting to KES 1 billion. This is because of land that residents lost to Fluorspar Mining Company.
Haki Madini Kenya Coalition joins the community in Kerio in appreciating the promise made and follow up consultations that were convened by the CS Mining on 21st June 2017. The community on this occasion (daringly) requested the CS for an additional KES 8 billion. The sufficiency of this new request or the 1 billion offered can only be accurately determined with knowledge on the population of people to be compensated and the value of land.
However, compensation alone may not be sufficient. National Council of Churches of Kenya, a member of HMK, has since 2016 June had conversations with the community on this matter. Issues of concern were more than compensation:
- The Compensation amounts for those displaced by the mining processes was never agreed upon. As a result, those who were compensated complained that the amount was too little, while others rejected the payment but were displaced nonetheless. They have thus lost their homes and their livelihoods.
- The mining of the fluorspar is having major negative effects on plant life, animals and human beings.
- The report of the Task Force established by the Ministry of Mining in 2015 is yet to be released and implemented.
It is therefore important that the task force report be shared publicly. This will provide a holistic approach to addressing the issues that affect the residents. It will also set good precedence on applying the mining law to company ills committed historically.
Hopefully, as implementation of the Mining Act 2016 and mining regulations begins; communities will henceforth be safeguarded from environmental impacts as well as forceful eviction in the emerging mining sector because the law provides for adequate compensation and community consent by a mineral right holder.