By Dikembe Disembe
As CORD continues to certify the referendum signatures collected in various parts of the country for the Okoa Kenya referendum, set to happen a year or so, the coalition has set out other processes on motion to maximize on its push to make devolution work.
At the heart of CORD’s referendum are five issues which shall be crystallized into a single Bill to presented to parliament. However, with the ‘tyranny of stupidity’ according to Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter currently in parliament, the Bill stand no chance of passing, hence the referendum.
The issues include devolution, land reforms, electoral reforms, inclusivity and strengthening of public institutions and constitutional commissions.
On land reforms, which includes oil and minerals, CORD is leaving nothing. The commission believes Jubilee Alliance is so corrupt that they can easily deplete all mineral resources without blinking an eyelid. Already, several legislators from the ruling coalition are engrossed in blatant land theft in Nairobi and other regions.
Through Senator Dr. Agnes Zani, acting ODM Party leader, the coalition has introduced The Natural Resources (Benefit Sharing) Bill 2014.
This Bill seeks to have 32 per cent of oil and mineral proceeds to go direct to the counties where these mineral resources are produced in.
“Although these are national resources, we want to ensure that the community which produce these resources benefit most directly, because, this way, you will reduce conflicts,” argues Dr. Zani.
Dr. Zani, whose Kwale backyard has rare earth minerals estimated to cost over $35 billion also proposes the creation of Natural Resources Benefits Sharing Authority to regulate the exploration industry.
Okoa Kenya referendum initiative suggests an amendment to the constitution to strengthen the role and benefits for communities in natural resources.
Okoa Kenya suggest an amendment to the constitution to provide for a criteria for sharing of revenues from mineral, oil and gas resources where the resources are explored and/or exploited. This criteria will provide for a definite percentage of sharing of revenues between national government and county governments and between county governments and host communities.
The initiative also wants a ‘utilization of revenues for the benefit of current and future generations of Kenyans and the classes of benefits to be shared.
The rationale for Okoa Kenya’s suggestions on resources sharing proceeds from experiences in most of Africa where oil and minerals have been a social curse, rather than an economic blessing. In Kenya, where communities are increasingly getting sensitive to ownership rights, such clearly stipulated guidelines for sharing Kenya’s new wealth are meant to avert future violent conflicts over mineral wealth.
Several counties in Kenya are currently witnessing mineral increased mineral exploration. These include Turkana (oil), Migori (gold), Kitui (coal), Kajiado (Limestone and Gypsum).