Home News Kwale investors urged to be sensitive to community needs

Kwale investors urged to be sensitive to community needs

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[Kwale Assembly Speaker and Gubernatorial aspirant Sammy Ruwa. Photo/Ahmed Omar/April, 10, 2022].

Kwale County Assembly Speaker Sammy Ruwa is urging Investors in the county to be sensitive to the local communities needs by working closely with the county government to avoid turning such projects into a curse on the people.

Ruwa noted that there have been numerous complaints from residents of the county that some projects have disrupted the livelihoods of families and brought misery instead of being a blessing to them.

To address these complaints, Speaker Ruwa expressed the need for the Government and communities to embrace investors while at the same time negotiating watertight packages that ensure sustainable livelihoods for the Project Affected Persons (PAPS).

Ruwa was reacting to complaints from some families in Msambweni Sub-county who said that they have been living in misery after they were displaced by the Australian Mining firm Base Titanium when it commenced its activities in the area.

The residents complained that though they hoped that Base Titanium venture would bring them good tidings, they ended up living in poverty and social deprivation.

Ruwa recalled that some families who gave up their land to pave way for Base Titanium to commence titanium mining in the area were compensated peanuts and have been living in misery.

He further called for re-negotiation of a new package to support their livelihoods.

The Kwale Gubernatorial aspirant argued that the compensation packages between the Mining firm and communities were negotiated before the county government was established and did not favour the locals as the deal favoured the investor and ended up interfering with livelihoods of the Project Affected Persons (PAPS).

Collaborations

“Though I am inviting more investors to Kwale, I will encourage a close collaboration between the investors, county government and communities to ensure projects are beneficial to all parties because I do not want these ventures to turn into a curse for the communities,” the Speaker argued.

The affected Msambweni residents are yet to receive full benefits from the mining project since it started operations about 20 years ago.

The county speaker also noted that local residents are also complaining about the Kwale International Sugar Company (KISCOL) operations which blamed on lack of consultations with county government and communities.

Mohamed Mwambwana, a Zigira village resident in Msambweni said they are not excited about the proposed extension of titanium mining in their area because of fear of losing livelihoods.

“I am afraid of moving out to allow extension of mining because of stories of misery from those re-located from the mining areas of Nguluku and Maumba. We are used to this area and we fear the unknown,” Mwambwana argued.

He said it was their right to get employment and support infrastructure from the mining firm because they were living in the locality but feared being impoverished after being uprooted from their current homes.

[Road within Masindeni village in Msambweni Sub county. Photo/Ahmed Omar/April, 10, 2022].

Last year, the mining firm engaged villagers and the county in effort to extend mining operations to Magaoni, Zigira and Masindeni among other villages but locals resisted the move.

To ease local people’s fears, Base Titanium recently operationalised the Community Development Agreement Committee (CDAC) to support projects in the area.

The committee headed by former Kwale county council Chairperson Mshenga Vuya Ruga was formed to fulfil the 2016 Mining Act that provides guidelines for Base Titanium to cede one percent of its total annual revenue for community development.