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Influential leaders plan a takeover of gold mining company, employees say

 Stephen Sang
Nandi Governor Stephen Sang at a past function. Mr Sang says his administration will offer investors land. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Karebe Gold Mining Company workers have expressed fears of job losses following reports of influential individuals planning to kick out the Zimbabwean investor.

The more than 300 employees say those behind planned takeover have no interest in mining.

The firm has been extracting the mineral in Chemelil ward for years.

Mr John Busienei, a local, talked of a scheme to exploit the community that owns the land.

“Powerful individuals have been frustrating the investor and we have information that they plan to have the 340 workers dismissed,” Mr Busienei said.

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The workers asked the government to expose those frustrating investors.

The company accuses illegal gold prospectors from Nairobi of interfering with mining around Chemurisio village “yet those involved don’t pay revenue”.

Trouble for the company began recently when Petroleum PS John Omenge, Nandi Trade executive Jacob Tanui and county Lands chief officer Solomon Mangira differed with Karebe MD David May over some activities the State officials termed as exploitative.

Mr May dismissed claims that the company was exploiting employees.

He also denied reports of Karebe sidelining the community.

During the meeting, the MD said the company has established several projects in the area.

Since the General Election, the company management has been accusing politicians of inciting locals against it.

“I will not accept to be intimidated just because I come from Zimbabwe,” Mr May said.

Last week, workers said their lives and those of their families have improved since being employed by the company.

They told off politicians “who want to cripple the company to create room for investors from the Middle East”.

Since taking office in 2017, Governor Stephen Sang has been encouraging businesses to invest in Nandi County, promising to provide land.

According to Mr Sang, more than 10,000 jobs will be created in Chemase location by the Export Processing Zone when a modern market is built on the Nandi-Kisumu border.

The governor said he would hold a meeting with Karebe Company and other investors.

Mr Omenge told Chemelil locals that the government would form a committee to look into claims of exploitation.

The team will be made up of representatives from the county government, locals and company officials.

During a Ministry of Minerals and Petroleum meeting in Kapsabet recently, Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei said he would continue exposing problems facing workers and the community at Karebe Gold mines “until the management listens and acts”.

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