Religious leaders drawn from the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (CJPC) and the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) have called on President Uhuru Kenyatta elevate the strategy from Mining Strategy to a more broad-based vision on how the country should manage its extractives sector. The argued that Kenya needs integrate the proposed Mining Strategy to be a key component of Vision 2030.
The leaders were meeting under the auspices of Haki Madini Kenya (HMK) Coalition which seeks to promote responsible stewardship of extractive resources through community mobilization, movement building, multi-stakeholder engagement, advocacy, capacity development and strategic knowledge management of key sector information.
They noted that the development of a Mining Strategy is a limited approach in implementing the country process. They reiterated that one of the key tenets of the African Mining Vision (AMV) is the requirement that the extractive sector be constantly re-evaluated against its contribution to broad and long-term development goals.
Kenya’s process to develop a country mining vision ought to enable the country to articulate its vision statement of the potential contribution of extractives to national development goals. More importantly, such integrated vision should be anchored in a manner that outlasts political cycles and changes in the structural organization of Government ministries and departments. In the end, the AMV is really about development, not mining!
Canon Peter Karanja, Secretary General of the NCCK commended the Kenyan Government for taking the bold step of implementing the African Mining Vision at a time when most countries are wavering or struggling with counter narratives.
He called on the President in his capacity as the Chairperson of the African Peer Review Mechanism to invite other African leaders to take leadership on commitments they have made to implement the African Mining Vision. He observed that the world has changed much today and to survive, African countries will have to make bold decisions to be able to be counted amongst the community nations.
In his remarks during the opening ceremony, Bishop Cornelius Korir, Chairperson of the CJPC called on Kenyans to reflect on the message of Pope Francis in his Encyclical on the Environment. He stated that the environment is our common home and that many conversations relating to the extractive sector tend to focus on the economic opportunities that the sector promises.
What is often forgotten in this space is that poor management of these resources has the inevitable consequence of resulting to economic instability, social conflicts as well as lasting environmental damage, he emphasized
The religious leaders proposed the following to better align the country process with the African Vision:
- The proposed country mining strategy should be elevated to be a key component of the Economic Pillar of Vision 2030 and the Ministry of Mining should take leadership in promoting its development and implementation with responsibilities for key Ministries and Institutions.
- The government should involve all key ministries should develop a national resettlement and compensation policy to limit the damage that extractive sector projects have on the livelihoods of local communities.
- The process to develop the national vision should be widely consultative to create broad ownership of the vision among citizens and institutions charged with various mandates.
- There should be an effort to develop a Regional Mining Visions given the cross-border linkage of the extractive sector and also have a regional peer review process under the APRM where all stakeholders can take stock of what other countries are doing and share lessons and best practices on how best to govern the extractive sector.