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Make Kakamega gold find a blessing

By The Standard | Updated Thu, March 2nd 2017 at 00:00 GMT +3
Timothy Mukoshi the Chairperson at Kakamega Mineral Mining Group shows some of the packed Gold stones at their Roasterman Mining site in Kakamega County on Feb 28th, 2007. PHOTO: CHRISPEN SECHERE.

Ikolomani constituency in Kakamega County got its name from the corruption of the English words gold mine. The people of this area have made a living digging up the rare metal from the ground often using rudimentary tools. Unfortunately, this has not changed their lives' prospects. The discovery of high grade gold therefore offers great hope for the residents of Ikolomani.

Some will be offered compensation to move out of their land once mining proper commences while others will secure the much-sought jobs to work in the mines and other clusters. This is welcome and care must be taken so that more than anyone else, the residents benefit from the resource underneath their feet. That includes formulating an agreeable revenue-sharing formula that ensures the gold deposits are a blessing, rather than a curse. Across Africa, numerous resource finds have turned out to be curses rather blessings to the communities.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo for example, the huge amounts of mineral deposits is a curse; the cause of political instability and death as rebels fight the government; in Nigeria, oil deposits in the Niger Delta fueled an insurgency that made it hard to exploit the resource. This can and ought to be avoided in Ikolomani, at all cost.

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