Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu has vowed to protect people living in mineral-rich areas against exploitative brokers.
“We are in a new era where Kitui people will fully benefit from minerals in their areas. Nobody will be allowed to cheaply buy land and ship away our minerals,” the governor said.
Ngilu spoke on Wednesday at Mithiikwani in Kitui West. The subcounty has rich iron ore and copper deposits.
She toured limestone-rich Ngaie, Mwingi North and Kanziku in Kitui South.
The governor also visited the coal-rich Mui Basin.
“Those who conned you in the past will have to deal with the new sheriff in town,” Ngilu said.
She said Kitui is among the counties with rich mineral deposits, yet a majority of residents are poor.
The governor will today meet miners in Kitui town.
“I will meet all the people licensed to mine in our county. I want to see a structured form of mining that helps residents. Our minerals will no longer benefit those meeting in Nairobi boardrooms at our expense,” Ngilu said.
She is unhappy with non-locals who make huge profits from Kitui minerals as locals languish in poverty.
The governor said those who will partner with the county to mine Kitui minerals will have to lease the land for the period they will be mining.