The estimated gold deposits in Kakamega stands at about 1.31 million ounces of gold which if we were to calculate at the market price of 12.1 grammes per tonne it could be one of Africa’s highest grade of quality gold. The value of the gold is a staggering 164 billion. Simply, all these wealth is lying below the ground in Kakamega. That is what I call sitting on gold. Actually, it is sleeping on gold. Sleeping because our people do not know that they are billionaires. The political class and the wheel dealers in the region would rather that we remain poor so that they can command us, na kutupanga kama viazi as we beg for handouts from them.
The question that comes to mind is, why? Why has such wealth remained untapped for all these years yet our people in Western Kenya live in abject poverty? The answer lies in SIASA MBAYA ..MAISHA MBAYA.
*THE ELECTION CYCLE AND GOLD TALK*
2012: Acacia Mining Company was first introduced to the Luhyia Nation in 2012, when TNA was campaigning to recapture from Kibaki. Luhyias were told that govt had engaged a British company to explore gold deposits in Kakamega. The narrative said that Acacia had invested Sh3 billion in exploration works covering 2,800 square kilometres of Kakamega. All these was done chini ya maji. Nobody knows how much of that money was paid to govt as tax? How much went to Kakamega county govt? And how did our people benefit? It was political talk. And if indeed the money was availed, it must have oiled political hands and funded the campaigns.
2017: Again just before General elections, the Mining Minister then announced with pomp and colour that Acacia mining had discovered gold deposits worth 164 billions in Kakamega. Political leaders made millage out of it in the press and political rallies telling the Luhyia to vote for Jubilee so as to benefit from the gold exploration. After Jubilee winning everything went silent.
But, Chini ya maji… the political class came in. government red tapes emerged. Road blocks were put in place so as to ensure that whoever got the mining rights had to part with massive amounts of money as kickbacks, taxes, bribes .. etc to oil their campaigns and political ambitions. It is obvious that whoever will mine that gold has done lots of underhand deals with politicians in Kakamega and central govt.
2020: As we prepare for the next election, the gold story is back. Those pushing BBI and wanting to show off on how close they are to govt have come back and are dangling the very same carrot. Gold. Last month, the mining CS Munyes visited Kakamega and was handed a title deed for a five acre piece of land where the mining factory will be put up.
*THE LUHYIA MUST NOW WAKE UP AND ASK QUESTIONS.*
We cannot be waiting for the likes of Oparanya or Eugine Wamalwa to come to us every campaign year to tell us about gold. We as the Luhyia must now wake up and demand answers on what is this gold business about? As luyias from Western Kenya, we MUST DEMAND to know
- Who the exploration company’s local representatives are,
- How was the tendering process for the mining company done?
- Which mining methods will be employed
- Where are the environmental impact assessment reports?
- How will compensation be done to the people living in the gold mining corridor
- But MOST IMPORTANT.. How will the gold mining improve the lives of people in Western?
Just like the Kikuyu in Muranga are asking Delemonte.. the American agro giant that has leased it’s land to build for them an Ultra modern hospital… and the Turukana demanded that Tullow Oil give them jobs and build schools, we the Luhyia Renaissance …DEMAND THAT the company that will mine our gold starts by constructing schools, hospitals, houses, orphanages, police stations, roads etc for our people and explain the sharing of revenue with locals.
We will NOT ACCEPT OPARANYA OR OTHERS TO PLAY POLITICS WITH OUR GOLD.