Residents of the Mui basin have expressed concern that they are not being updated on coal mining developments in the area even after a Chinese firm has controversially been awarded tender to mine the mineral.
During a visit to the area last on Tuesday, the Star established that most residents of coal blocks C and D are wondering why neither area MP David Musila nor the chairman of the community liaison committee on coal, Eric Mutua, have volunteered any reliable information.
Residents of Mui, Kithonzweni and Ngungi areas said they were still waiting for feedback from a community delegation led by Musila and Mutua that in April visited coal mines in China that are owned by the Fenxi industry mining company. Fenxi has been awarded the tender. "We are still waiting for our MPp and his team to give us a feedback after they went to China. They came back home and kept quiet leaving us wonder what had gone wrong. Speculation has since become the in thing in this area," said Nziw'a Musili who is a business lady at Mui trading centre.
Nziw'a who said the situation was not helped by last week's visit to the area by Mutitu MP Kiema Kilonzo who distributed a report casting doubt on the existence of the Fenxi industry Mining company. Kiema said during his visit that he was distributing the report in the interest of the community to ensure that the mineral wealth was not grabbed by outsiders. "We want to make sure that the coal benefits the local people but not outsiders," said Kiema who is seeking the Kitui governorship.
And retired teacher Peter Musyoka wondered why the Musila Chinese delegation was shying away from making their findings public after visiting China. "Kiema's delegation was in China much later Musila's team but has come out with damning report on Fenxi," said Musyoka. Musyoka who hails from Kathonzweni said it was prudent for the public to be given a comprehensive report on the Chinese visit by Musila delegation to clarify some contentious issues about the coal project.
At Ngungi Village, Julius Nduumbu, a retire education officer, said keeping the local community in the dark about the project was ominous. "It has led to massive speculations confusing the populace," he said curtly. It was in the wake of the disquiet among the local community that Mutua who is also the LSK Chairman and who was in Musila's Chinese delegation has written to the Energy Permanent Secretary Patrick Nyoike to clarify contentious issues or face court action.
Mutua wants clarificationwhether the Fenxi Company had indeed been granted the tender to mine coal on Blocks C and D and seeks to be furnished with the letter awarding the tender. He also wonders whether the alleged 30 percent shareholding in Fenxi that was supposed to go to the locals was awarded to an entity called M/s Great Lakes Limited.
Mutua points that the community had put a lot of pressure to explain the issues raised and give specific answer. In the letter dated July 9 and referenced MMOE/CONF/1/1/17 Vol 16 Mutua threatens to take the PS to court in fourteen day unless he gets a favorable response.