Residents back out of development committee with mining firm

Base Titanium. More women are being urged to venture into the mining industry./COURTESY

Kwale, KENYA: Residents of Nguluku and Maumba villages who were displaced to pave way for mining activities are now calling on the government through the ministry of mining to suspend the formation of a Community Development Agreement CDA committee.

The committee to be constituted is meant to represent their 10% share of royalty from Australian mining company Base Titanium.

Led by Swalehe Mwabakari, the residents on Friday protested the formation of the CDA committee which they said they were not fully represented hence terming it as biased.

“The committee was to have 23 members from the local communities but only seven slots were set aside for us. The other positions have been dominated by politicians from both the national and county government,” said Mwabakari.

The residents have asked the mining and petroleum CS John Munyes to intervene and do away with the list that was forwarded to commissioner’s office on Monday arguing that it does not represent the interests of the locals.

“The committee should be composed of members who represent our agendas and see that locals benefit from their 10% share of royalty,” said Mwabakari.

The constitution stipulates that national government will get a share of 70% of its royalty, county government to benefit by 20% and the remaining 10% is to be shared among communities neighboring the mining operations undertaken by Base Titanium.

According to the locals, the rule of law did not apply in choosing representatives from the community set to discuss on how the 10% royalty from Base Titanium will be used for community development.

“We are supposed to elect them but what surprises me is that some people were called to pick people with good leadership skills and yet we are the ones who know the people who can represent us effectively,” added Mwabakari.

Several politicians have seen their way in the committee which comprises of 23 members including three legislators, seven MCAs, five stakeholders and seven representatives from the community.