By Samuel Ngei
TI-Kenya in collaboration with the Kwale Mining Alliance Working Group leaders organized and held forums with the members of the various working groups. The working groups included Land and Resettlement; Environment, Health, and Safety; Sensitisation on Exploration; Royalties and CDAs, that were launched by the PS, State Department for mining in July 2019. The working groups were formed to work on four thematic areas that were collaboratively identified by all stakeholders in the mining sector in Kwale including the ministry of petroleum and mining, Base Titanium and CSOs. The main objective of the meetings was to meet the affected community members and set the basis for future engagements based on the areas that the residents of Kwale identified to be critical.
The aim of the forum was to sensitise the affected community representatives together with the working group members on the existing avenues, steps of awarding licenses and the whole process of conducting the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIAs) in mining. The participants were trained on the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) process to enable them to be in a better position to interact with the EIA and audit reports, with focus on how the community should be consulted and their role in public participation as required by the Environmental Impacts Assessment and Audit Regulations 2003 (Amended 2019). This would help in increasing the number of citizen-led corruption focused advocacy initiatives and enhance their actions against corruption in the awarding EIA license as well as monitoring the impacts during the project operation phase.
The working group members were also sensitised on the provisions of the law regarding exploration activities. This came at the right time as the community would be able to influence the decision process in due time from a point of knowledge, thus providing no room for corrupt incidences in the whole value chain, this is because once the risks are addressed at the onset of the exploration, it will prevent other opportunities that would emanate in case of compromise at the initial stages.