The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Ruto to Sign MUI Coal Contract On Monday

A fresh controversy has emerged on the Mui Coal Mining projects even as plans are being put in place for the signing of the mining concession between the government and a Chinese firm.

Mwingi Central MP Joe Mutambu, has announced that Deputy President William Ruto will sign the contract with Fenxi Mining Industry Group at Mwingi town this Monday. Blocks C and D of the Mui Coal basin are in Mwingi Central.

Earlier, in a media report, chief geologist in the Ministry of Energy John Omenge had indicated that the "rushed" signing of the mining agreement was to take place last Monday.

The event was however postponed.

The Community Liaison Committee on Coal, headed by LSK chairman Erick Mutua, who hails from the area, is opposed to the signing of the contract before some "itchy" issues are thrashed out.

Yesterday, Mui ward representative Stanislous Mulongo, a member of the community liaison committee on coal said: "The community and the committee has made it clear that they are opposed to rushed signing of the mining contract."

He said a technical committee headed by Kitui Senator David Musila has established some grey areas in the Benefit Sharing Agreement.

"We want all the interests of the local community to be taken care of. The issues we had picked in the BSA documents must be addressed first. If they sign the contract, the Mui people should be counted out," Mulongo said.

Mulongo told the media in Kitui yesterday that more than 1,300 residents last Sunday attended two meetings at Kateiko and Kalitini, within the basin, and denounced the move.

He distributed to the media copies of the resolutions of the public meetings. The public resolved that if any contract will be signed, it should be done at Mathuki trading centre, which is in the coal belt.

The community agreed that outsiders visiting the coal belt to discuss coal issues must be accompanied by members of the liaison committee otherwise residents will snub them.They demanded that their interests must be incorporated in the coal mining contract lest the court cases, that have all along hampered the coal mining projects will not be withdrawn.

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