Uphill task in vetting Sh1bn State fluorspar payout claims

John Munyes
Mining secretary John Munyes. PHOTO | FANCIS NDERITU | NMG 

The government is facing an uphill task in vetting thousands of claims to determine genuine beneficiaries of the Sh1 billion set aside to compensate residents displaced by the construction of Fluorspar Mining Company in Kimwarer, Elgeyo-Marakwet County.

Mining secretary John Munyes and National Land Commission (NLC) chairman Muhammad Swazuri acknowledged that there were many underlying issues that needed to be addressed before the cash is released to the families as directed by President Uhuru Kenyatta during a tour of the region last year.

This was evident on Thursday last week when Mr Munyes and Dr Swazuri held a five- hour closed door meeting with leaders from the county at an Eldoret hotel.

Besides the land compensation, thousands of former workers are also demanding over Sh100 million as termination benefits after their retrenched.

Most of them are said to be old and sickly while others have long died, leaving their dependants destitute.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Munyes did not address the ex-workers’ demands, but said they would expedite the vetting.

“We want to conclude the entire process before a new investor starts mining after the previous one pulled out. We don’t want double compensation. That’s why we’ve given ourselves two weeks to finalise,” said Mr Munyes.

But even as the State works on how best to allocate the compensation package, a group of residents has termed the Sh1 billion as “too little” and is instead demanding Sh9 billion for their 9,070 acres of ancestral land.

The company was started in 1970 as Fluorspar Company of Kenya but went into receivership a year later changing to Fluorspar Company Kenya Limited under State management.