MP, co-operative in row over mining deal
By Renson Mnyamwezi
An MP is embroiled in a row with members of a co-operative society in Taita-Taveta County over a controversial iron ore mining deal.
Officials of Kishushe Ranching Co-operative Society claim Wundanyi MP Thomas Mwadeghu colluded with some Taita-Taveta County Council officers to issue mining consent to an investor currently extracting iron ore on the land.
The co-operative society’s chairman Benedict Mwabili now wants the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources to revoke the mining licence over claims that the ranch management was not consulted.
The 60,000-acre disputed ranch is rich in iron ore deposits. The management has been embroiled in a tussle with the investor, Wanjala Mining Company, whom they claim was imposed on them by Mr Mwadeghu.
"We’ve had enough interference with the affairs of the society by the MP. The legislator has ensured the group ranch does not carry out its development activities like all other 24 ranches in the county by openly protecting illegal mining on the society land for his own benefit," said Mr Mwabili.
But Mwadeghu claimed those attacking him were not bonafide members of the ranch, claims disputed by the local co-operative officer. "Those accusing me of interfering with the ranch affairs are just hypocrites.
"They are being used by my political detractors to make noise to achieve certain selfish interests and will fail miserably in their mission," the ODM legislator said in an interview with The Standard in Wundanyi town.
Mwadeghu said the council that is trustee of the land, legally issued the investor with a mining consent.
The region’s Geologist Edward Omito concurred with the MP, saying the investor was legally on the ranch and asked the society’s management to stop using unorthodox means of running its affairs without involving other relevant stakeholders.
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