Kevin Kinusu, the climate and energy advocacy officer at Hivos, the Dutch organisation for development, tells IPS that the weak laws have proved ineffective in the face of the country’s capitalist economy.
“Market forces have overlooked the importance of sustainable management of natural resources. Due to the current craze to develop real estate, wetlands in areas in Nairobi County, parts of Kiambu County and indeed in many other parts of the country have been converted into settlements.” He says the real value of such protected areas has been ignored and “the market forces and extreme hunger for a cash economy has been given dominance at the expense of our environmental and natural resource health.”
While the 2010 constitution demands that communities be at the heart of natural resource management, many are still left out of the country’s multi-billion dollar mining industry.
“The production-sharing contracts signed between the government and oil companies are often in favour of the companies since they are signed under the archaic Petroleum Act of 1986,” Samuel Kimeu, executive director of Transparency International Kenya, tells IPS. “Unclear means of awarding mining licences have been used to fleece the public, compromising the terms of the licence against the public interest, thus swindling the public of possible revenue,” he says.