Church calls for comprehensive resettlement plan

By: SAMUEL KARANJA

The government should come up with a comprehensive compensation and resettlement plan for communities living in mineral rich areas, church leaders have said.

The National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) and the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (CJPC) also asked the government to ensure consultations between affected communities and mining companies are held to avoid conflicts.

The two organisations also said all stakeholders must be involved in developing the Kenya Mining Vision and that all Kenyans must be allowed to participate.

The NCCK Secretary General Canon Peter Karanja said on Wednesday that although the current government had taken bold steps in implementing the African Mining Vision, much more needs to be done to ensure communities living in mineral rich areas are not exploited by investors.

He lauded the government for elevating the Ministry of Mining which was previously a department through an Executive Order and the passage of the Mining Bill 2015 among other steps towards ensuring mining in the country is regulated.

“We however note that Executive Order No. 3 of 2013 on the organization of the government spreads the mandate for the extractive sector to also include the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum”

“Key issues that have been identified in the draft Energy policy include the lack of a national resettlement policy as a well as a lack of comprehensive compensation framework for displaced communities,” said Canon Karanja as he spoke after opening a mining conference organised by Haki Madini Kenya Coalition, a civil society group..

Speaking at the same event, Bishop Cornelius Korir, the CJPC chairman, said communities must be fully involved while companies are prospecting for such resources to ensure they benefit fully.

“The proposed county mining strategy should be elevated to be a key component of Economic Pillar of Vision 20130 and the Ministry of Mining should take leadership in promoting its development and implementation,” he said during a press conference at Desmond Tutu Centre in Nairobi.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION