Khalwale and Shinali clash over Shanta Gold's Sh171 billion dig

Kakamega senator Boni Khalwale. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale and Ikolomani MP Bernard Shinali have clashed over the exploration of Sh171 billion gold deposits in Ikolomani Constituency, by Shanta Gold Limited.

Activities at the Isulu-Bushiangala corridor where the gold deposits were discovered are on the verge of breaking down as politics and economic interests take centre stage.

The two leaders have been organizing different public participation forums in the area with Khalwale (pictured) leading a group of residents opposing gold exploration. Shinali on the other hand, is leading another group supporting the initiative.

In September last year, over 8,000 families in Ikolomani refused to pave the way for the company to carry out exploration.

On April 19, 2024, Khalwale held a public participation forum in Isulu, Ikolomani where he led the residents in demanding that Shanta suspend its operations.

However, on Tuesday 23rd April Ikolomani lawmaker Shinali organized a different public participation forum at Isulu village in Ikolomani where a section of residents supported the company’s exploration activities.


“We are asking our senator and area Member of the County Assembly to desist from inciting people against Shanta Gold Limited because we have talked to the company through our MP Shinali and there is no person who is going to be evicted as alleged,” said Jimmy Makotsi, Chairman, and Ikolomani Consultative Development Community.

Philipa Hutchinson, one of the investors of Shanta Gold Company who attended the first public participation meeting conducted five months ago by area MP Bernard Shinali had a difficult time explaining to residents their mission and intentions.

The investor said their mission was to conduct a feasibility study in the area to know the amount of gold in the area.

“At this time there is no decision for us to mine or resettle people. What we want is to do a feasibility study that will take a minimum of eight months and we will have more engagements before we can come back to you and give out our report,” said Hutchinson.

However, government officials like Mining Principal Secretary Elijah Mwangi visited Kakamega two weeks ago and advocated for continued exploration, touting economic benefits and promising equitable development.