- The discovery of mineral deposits has sparked wide political interest in the region where a scramble for land has started.
- Mudavadi and Wetang'ula have written to Petroleum and Mining CS John Munyes demanding full details of the mineral deals in the region.
ANC chief Musalia Mudavadi and his Ford Kenya counterpart Moses Wetang'ula have questioned how UK company Acacia Mining Plc was awarded exclusive mining rights in Western Kenya where gold and granite reserves have been discovered.
The discovery of the mineral deposits has sparked wide political interest in the region and a scramble for land has started in areas identified to have the minerals.
Mudavadi and Wetang'ula have written to the CS for Petroleum and Mining John Munyes demanding full details on mineral mining rights in the region.
Acacia, which has been prospecting in the region, announced recently that it had struck high-grade gold in Kakamega county where the deposits are estimated to be worth more than Sh164 billion.
The company said the deposits in Kakamega were of the highest grade so far in Africa and that there were possibilities of larger quantities of gold of similar grade in areas near the exploration site.
Acacia CEO Brad Gordon said the finding was one of the highest grades in Africa currently.
“We believe this initial resource is a first step in the delineation of a multimillion ounce high-grade corridor,” Gordon said in a statement.
The gold reserves have been found in Western Kenya's Lirhanda Corridor that touches Kakamega, Vihiga, parts of Kisumu and Siaya counties. There are also granite deposits in Bungoma and Vihiga counties.
“As much as we are happy to see that resources are being discovered there, there are a few questions that Kenyans would want answered because we do not want our people and the country to be exploited for the benefit of a few individuals,” Mudavadi said.
Mudavadi said they want to know how Acacia Mining Plc was procured and the owners of the company must be named.
“We want to know who their local representatives are. Was it a tender process? Was it an expression of interest that was advertised? What mining methods would they want to use? Do we have environmental impact assessment reports?” the statement by Mudavadi and Wetang'ula said.
They also want to know if there would be any compensation and if so whether there is any process towards a compensation plan.
The two leaders also want to know how counties would benefit from the resources through royalties.
Other leaders from Western Kenya have supported the statement by Mudavadi and Wetang'ula on mineral rights. They include Nicholas Mbaka, Fred Shabati, Micah Kigen, Enock Limo and Meshack Muge.
"Minerals are a national resource and the government should come out to clearly explain details as demanded by our leaders from Western Kenya,” Limo said.
Mudavadi said the details on the Acacia mining deal were scanty with other reports indicating that the UK firm had sold the same rights to Shanta Golds of Tanzania which operates in Iringa region.
CS Munyes did not pick calls for comment but sources at the ministry said he would visit the region soon.
Edited by Henry Makori