Preliminary findings of an investigative mission that was carried out by KNCHR indicates that mining activities taking part in various parts of the country have lead to numerous violation of human rights. The investigation that has been going on for the last one year was as a result of numerous documented complaints that were made by individuals in various parts of the country where mining activities have been taking place .
A major problem that was mentioned in the report involved land issues.The key issues included dispossession, and lack of titling, which the CS for Lands Prof.Jacob Kaimenyi did not shy away from addressing, “Some officials collude with land grabbers,” he boldly said.
He expressed willingness to work with the office of the Director of Public Prosecution to hunt those involved in illegal land activities and bring them to book.
A representative of NEMA mentioned environmental degradation as another negative resulting factor arising from the mining activities.He emphasized that “Environmental impact assessment should be done before commissioning mining activities.”
Deteriorating education standards especially among school going children was also mentioned, with this noted to lead to child labour, and was also attributed to the lure of getting ‘quick’ money . Most of the challenges were attributed to conflict between the County government and the National government, as there is very little or no consultation that goes on between the two authority levels, especially on matters to do with benefit sharing.
In response to the complaints made, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights will conduct a public inquiry from August 22nd to September 2nd 2016 starting with the Taita –Taveta Sub-Counties Voi, Mwatate, and Wundanyi which were seen to be the most affected by the mining activities.
The public inquiry seeks to promote the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms as envisioned in Chapter 4 of the Constitution of Kenya. The public inquiry will incorporate the participation of public investors and other key government and non-governmental stakeholders working in the Taita Taveta County.