The announcement by Petroleum and Mining Cabinet Secretary John Munyes on October 8 that the Kakamega County and the local community will get 30% of revenue that will be generated from the sale of the Ksh165 billion gold discovered in the county is set to re-ignite the debate on how the government will handle individual counties that will claim a share of minerals, natural resources tapped from their localities.
Munyes’ revelation comes in the wake of a bitter standoff between the Nairobi and Murang’a County governments over revenue generated from the sale of water from Ndakaini Dam located in Murang’a which has been the subject of a bitter exchange of words between Governors Mike Sonko and Mwangi wa Iria.
Ndakaini is the main source of water for The Nairobi Water Company which supplies water to Nairobi households.
Wa Iria wants 25% of the revenue that the Nairobi County generates from sales which amounts to Ksh200 million per month or Ksh2.4 billion annually.
So heated was the exchange of words that President Uhuru Kenyatta during a cleanup exercise of Uhuru market in Makadara Constituency, Nairobi on October 6 weighed in on the matter asking the two leaders to stop the wrangles.
“Water is a natural resource from God. We should come together and share the resource for the benefit of all Kenyans,” President, Kenyatta said.
On July 26, British company Tullow halted exploration and trucking of oil from Lokichar in Turkana pending resolution of a dispute between the local community and the national government over the sharing of the revenue that had d******d commencement of the Early Oil Pilot Scheme (EOIPS).
The issue was resolved as the local leaders agreed on a revenue sharing formula with the national government that will see the national government get 75%, county government 20% while the local community will get 5%.
A similar predicament rocked exploration of Titanium in Kwale County on July 23 after Base Titanium pulled out its machines and workers from sites around Magaoni citing unfavourable working conditions.
Protests by locals over mineral rights are more often than not sponsored by politicians angling for a share of the revenue. The plan involves inflaming the passions of their constituents to pressure the national government to cede to their demands.