COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT FORUM IN KWALE COUNTY

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT FORUM IN KWALE COUNTY

In Kenya, Kwale County is home to ilmenite, rutile and Zircon among other minerals. These minerals are mined by the Base Titanium Limited, a 100% owned subsidiary of Base Resources Limited.

The mining activities play a great role in terms of changing the community social dynamics. It also exposes the local communities to harassment by mine security guards and sometimes government security agencies. Despite these challenges, the mining activities in Africa and most of the developing countries have attracted investors at the expense of the local communities.

Hakijamii held a two day community engagement forum with 5 village committees. The villages which were represented include; Vumbu, Nguluku, Kibwaga, Nora, Bumamani, Magaoni,Maumba and Bwiti.

The mining is taking place in 2 locations; Mivumoni and Kinondo Locations. The two locations combined have a total of 12 villages. Most of the families have vacated the area. About 100 households are awaiting compensation before they can vacate the prospected areas.  We were able to meet with Maumba residents who had been moved from their village to pave way for mining activities. The participants reported that District Rellocation Committee (DRC) made a mistake because most of the agreements that they made with the mining company were verbal. There was no written agreements between the community and the mining company. The committee members identified this as one of the source of problems for the community. There were no minutes drafted for most of the meetings held during these earlier stages.

The committee members also identified access to basic services such as basic education and clean piped water as a great challenge. Averagely, the children in Bumamani walk for 5.5 kilometres to access the nearest education facility. This is made worse by the fact that their farm lands have dried up and hence their right to food security is at stake.

We plan to create platforms and linkages with both the county and national government to push for increased access to basic services and introduce the community groups to basic concepts of the budgeting process and learn how to intepret the budget estimates in readiness for public participation in Kwale county.