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Governors allege scheme by ministry to replace their mining board nominee

Council of Governors Chairman Peter Munya. (Photo: Dennis Okeyo, Standard)

The Council of Governors (CoG) representative to the Mining Rights Board is yet to be appointed, over six months after the county chiefs nominated lawyer Wachira Maina.

On September 26, 2016, the CoG wrote to Mining Cabinet Secretary Dan Kazungu communicating the decision of the county chiefs to have Maina sit in the board.

According to the law, the CoG is given one slot in the nine-member board that advises and gives recommendations to the Cabinet Secretary on- the grant, rejection, retention, renewal, suspension, revocation, variation, assignment, trading, tendering, or transfer of Mineral Rights agreements among others.

“It’s with this regard that the CoG nominates Mr. Wachira Maina to be a member of the Mineral Rights Board. Wachira is a qualified professional in the mining sector and therefore meets the required qualification,” CoG CEO Jacqueline Mogeni wrote to the CS.

Mining CS Dan Kazungu is yet to gazette the name prompting CoG to send reminders. On December 19 the county bosses wrote a second letter to Kazungu.

On March 4, 2017 CoG chairman Peter Munya wrote a third reminder; “The purpose of this letter is to inquire on Mr. Wachira Maina’s membership to the board as the council of governors’ representative. Share with us the gazette notice appointing him and update on his participation in the board. Your agent response will be appreciated.”

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And by yesterday (April 30, 2017), the ministry was yet to respond to the inquiry prompting the county chiefs to complain.

“The Council is concerned that despite the nomination of Mr. Maina on 26th September last year and subsequent written reminders by the Council of Governors Chairman, H.E Peter Munya and Ms Jacqueline Mogeni, the Ministry of Mining has not gazette his name. The Council of Governors views this delay tactic as an attempt by the Mining Ministry to replace Mr. Maina through the backdoor,” CoG Director of Communication Andrew Teyie said in a statement.

Mining Cabinet Secretary Dan Kazungu told the governors to be patient alluding the delay to parliament’s failure to pass regulations to operationalise the law.

According to the CS, the gazzettement and inauguration of the board has been delayed as parliament is yet to approve regulations to operationalise the new law that came into effect in May last year after President Uhuru Kenyatta signed in into law.

“There is no need for alarm; the governors should be patient as we await the regulations to be passed by parliament. Once that is done, I will not only gazette the name but move to inaugurate the board,” he said.

The minister explained that he was also eager to have the board begin working as hundreds of applications are piling at the ministry since a new law requiring the constitution of the board to review and approve mining licences and concessions came into being last year.

Other than reviewing licenses, the board will also advise on, among others, areas suitable for small-scale and artisanal mining, areas where mining operations may be excluded and restricted, and the declaration of some minerals as a strategic national resource.

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Besides the three ministerial appointees who must have professional experience in mining, the board will comprise Principal Secretary (PS) Mining, Treasury PS and National Land Commission chair and the directors of mines and geological survey.

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