Awendo Residents rummage through gold deposits at Komire Hills. The government has shut off the site citing security concerns after gold was discovered at the site. PHOTO:IAN BYRON,KTMN

Awendo legislator Walter Owino has called on the government to employ sobriety and “follow the due procedure” in handling the scramble for gold that was discovered in his constituency last week.

Mr Owino said the current deadlock witnessed at Komire hill where gold deposits were discovered was not in good faith and called on the National government to remain impartial in handling the issue.

“If the county commissioner wants to control or regulate how mining is done then there should be no bias. We all understand what the government is supposed to do. Let the regulation apply across the board and not just Awendo. The entire Migori County is a gold belt and applying punitive and partial directive to a specific group is uncalled for.”

Awendo MP Walter Owino

Mr Owino confirmed having received intelligence reports of vehicles streaming into the quarry in the wee hours of the night and making away with the gold rich ores with police officers offering protection.

“We are aware that some vehicles have been coming there at night and leaving with the rocks yet our people are kept at bay over purported security concerns. As we talk, there is no single gold mine at the quarry that can create a security breach. So instead of deploying police to do some dubious deals at night, let them provide security and ensure normal operations are resumed.”

Walter Owino, Awendo MP
An excavator working at Komire quarry where gold was discovered last week. PHOTO: IAN BYRON,KTMN

Over the weekend, Migori County commissioner Mr David Gitonga ordered the closure of the construction site citing security concerns after gold deposits were discovered at the Chinese construction site, creating an impasse between locals and the Chinese construction firm.

Mr Gitonga who visited the quarry on Monday morning maintained tat the area will remain under police protection despite calls by locals have unlimited access to the quarry which has now turned to be their source of livelihood.

“We have all agreed that this is a security concerns and the area has to be secured by the police for 24 hours a day. Whoever want to engage in any mining activity in any part of the country must have a valid license.”

The area has since been cordoned with a contingent of armed police officers manning the site.

The move to deploy security has however met sharp criticism from locals and area leadership who claim that authorities had taken over gold prospecting in the area.

Residents who spoke to journalists claimed that huge tracks have been evacuating the gold rich ores to unknown destinations under police protection, a move they say was deliberately meant to disenfranchise them.

“We are being locked out of the mining site yet we see trucks filled with rocks ferrying gold in full glare of the police. This appears to be a scheme high profile individuals to take over gold prospects at nthe expense of the locals.”

John Ouma, Komire resident.
Awendo residents picking gold stiones at Komire quarry. The governmnet has ordered the closure of the area citing security concerns.

Chapter 183 (5) of the Mining Act 2016 stipulates that 70 percent of gold discovered within the country goes to the national government with 20 percent being taken over by the county government while 10 percent goes to local residents from where the mineral has been discovered.

By IAN BYRON

Managing Editor, Writer and Public Relations Consultant. A highly professional and talented multimedia journalist with solid experience in creating compelling news as well as distributing and delivering through multiple digital platforms to a global audience.

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