Governor wants Ruto to fulfil Tsavo revenue sharing pledge

Taita Taveta Governor Andrew Mwadime. [File, Standard]

Taita Taveta Governor Andrew Mwadime has called on President William Ruto to fulfil his commitment to implement a 50-50 revenue sharing arrangement from Tsavo and grant access to mines in wildlife-protected areas in the county.

The county encompasses the expansive Tsavo East and West National Parks, which collectively cover approximately 62 per cent of the total land area.

Private farms occupy 24 per cent of the land, while only 12 per cent is designated for rain-fed agriculture.

In July of the previous year, during a thanksgiving ceremony at Mwatunge grounds in Mwatate Sub County, the president pledged that, by the end of December 2023, the county government and Kenya Wildlife Service would share 50-50 per cent of revenue generated from the park.

Ruto also said starting from December 2023, the local community would have access to Tsavo National Park for gemstone mining.

Recently, the governor expressed disappointment, saying failure to fulfil these promises has generated political tension. He criticised the president for not honouring commitments made to the local community, adding that the region's economic fortunes would significantly improve with the implementation of these pledges.

“The President had promised that before the end of last year, the county would start benefiting from revenue sharing and access to Tsavo. We are still asking the president to honour his promise,” said the governor. Mwadime emphasised the unfairness of allowing large investors from outside the region to mine in the national park while local small-scale and artisanal miners face restrictions.

He protested against the disparity, advocating for the local community's right to mine the park's resources. Last year, Mining CS Salim Mvurya said the government is committed to empowering the miners by allowing them to benefit from their resources. 

The CS said the move to have miners from marketing cooperatives was meant to pave the way for the formation of modalities on how they can be licensed to engage in regulated mining in Tsavo.