Opinion and Analysis
Mining Bill welcome
It has now become a tired cliché that mineral wealth is the curse of developing nations in general and Africa in particular.
This is because countries with minimal ambitions and inadequate structures find mineral wealth a stimulant for their laziness and greed.
Kenya is moving to address the potential conflict arising from such finds as prospects of minerals ranging from oil to gold grow by the day.
The Mining and Minerals Bill which Environment and Mineral Resources minister Chirau Mwakwere has just announced is a welcome effort in addressing the sensitive issue.
According to the Bill, 15 per cent of the royalties would go to a particular county and five per cent to the local community. However, the drafters of the Bill need to be very clear as to how the community and county would absorb the cash given that in some cases the amounts involved might be too huge.
We need not create a situation where we issue blank cheques to local elite to enrich themselves at the expense of the needy community members and in the process disrupt social order.
At the same time, a situation where a community ditches work, as has happened in Nigeria, to depend on exhaustible resources has to be avoided at all costs.
It is with these pitfalls in mind that the drafters have incorporated a clause seeking a budget outline by the community, but they also need to come up with proposals of serious consequences if the cash is misused. In short, we need to be thinking sustainable development beyond the minerals.